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Cook County welcomes 2016 Environmental Defense Fund Fellow Kate M. Buczek. Environmental Defense Fund is a non-profit organization that works on finding cost effective solutions to environmental challenges. The EDF Climate Corps fellowship program matches organizations with highly trained graduate students from the nation’s leading universities to advance corporate energy initiatives. Since 2008, fellows have identified nearly $1.5 billion in energy savings for organizations, with an average of $1 million for each organization involved. Fellows work on a multitude of projects including transformative energy efficiency, sustainability, and other innovative energy projects.
Kate was chosen to work with the County because of our large impact on sustainability. The County is undertaking dramatic sustainability efforts, with goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and water use 30 percent by 2025 and 40 percent by 2035. The County has surpassed its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal by decreasing emissions 11 percent, ahead of the 8 percent goal for 2014. That year, the County passed its energy benchmarking ordinance, requiring the County to track annual energy and water use which will help us understand our energy efficiency. Additionally, the County has received more than $3.7 million in rebates or grants for completed energy conservation measures.
Kate will work on a carbon reduction plan, writing a strategic management plan providing a roadmap to achieve the County’s greenhouse gas reduction goal. She will also advise the County on internal sustainability targets while developing an implementation and monitoring plan. For the plan, she will research the impact of and strategize goals for energy, waste, water and transportation emissions reduction. Kate will further the County’s goals by helping establish baselines for other county operations including water, fleet and waste.
“I’m looking forward to helping the County create its emission reduction plan and learning more about how to best help the County meet its environmental goals,” Kate said.
Kate comes to the County from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where she recently obtained her Master’s degree in environmental management with a concentration in energy and the environment and sustainable systems. She competed in the prestigious Yale Graduate Consulting Club Case competition presenting a consulting plan for a real world business problem with her team. Her extensive sustainable energy project experience includes: writing corporate social responsibility reports quantifying sustainability goals, conducting a cost benefit net present value analysis of switching generator fuel, creating a strategic plan to reduce Chicago’s transportation greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2035 and advising an investor on repurposing a theater to create a sustainable cultural hub. Kate also volunteered for the Notre Dame Appalachia Fall Break Service Learning Seminar, learning about communities in the region focusing on, among other things, sustainability and energy.
When looking for a summer fellow, Energy Manager and Cook County’s EDF Fellow Program Director, Tony Dover sought someone who “could see the big picture and has an understanding of energy management and building systems.” With her extensive sustainable energy background, we are sure Kate’s ten weeks with the County will prove mutually beneficial. We look forward to learning from her.
A Message from the President
I believe that Cook County should be a world-class model of sustainability. We are working not only to boost sustainability practices throughout County government, but also to join forces with local governments, nonprofits and business, to accomplish more than we could separately in making each of Cook County’s communities sustainable. To further this work, I appointed Deborah Stone as the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, and as Director of the Department of Environmental Control. I also recognize that Cook County needs to share ideas and collaborate with a diverse group of community leaders and sustainability experts. In March 2012, I appointed the Cook County Sustainability Advisory Council to help lift our vision higher and give us access to best practices. You can meet the Council members and read more about their mission in the “Advisory Council” section of this website. Toni Preckwinkle,Cook County Board President
What is Sustainability?
" Ensuring that there is enough for today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."Deborah StoneChief Sustainability Officer, Cook County Government
Contact UsCook County Chief Sustainability Officer
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Chicago, IL 60602
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