Cook County Sustainability Advisory Council Recommendations

Reduce largest sources of GHG Emissions from County facilities and operations by 80% by 2050.

  1. Commit to reducing GHG emissions from County building energy use by 80% by 2050. The Energy chapter shows how. Cook County is well on its way.
  2. Transportation: Use the detailed analysis of County fleet and fuel to create a program to reduce emissions from fuel use, including fleet/vehicle reduction, alternative fuels, and alternative transportation modes.
  3. Solid Waste: Centralize waste and recycling responsibility and contracting, to identify opportunities to maximize diversion and cost savings.
  4. Water and Wastewater: use currently available means to reduce water consumption an average of 30% through contractors and internal projects.
  5. Future projects: reduce refrigerants, reduce energy used by IT, and reduce the environmental impacts of goods and services the County buys.
  6. Track overall GHG reduction goal and assure establishment of sustainability work in other areas such as water and fuel use, solid waste disposed/recycled, etc.
  7. Report annually on energy use and energy reduction measures, and make this report a template for reporting on other sustainability goals.
  8. Integrate energy use, and other sustainability measures, into the Performance Measures of individual departments and buildings.
  9. Coordinate building energy and other sustainability projects through a high level Green Team or Sustainability Cabinet that the County Board President should call for, with frequent reports on progress to the President’s Office.
  10. For each GHG source, quantify the base, set goals, analyze ROI (dollars, environmental and social benefits), integrate goals into budget process, measure progress, and be transparent.
  11. Put staff/IT framework (e.g. a Building Energy Manager) in place to make analysis an ongoing effort.
  12.  Inform the public about what the County has done – It has good accomplishments and can lead by example.
  13. Act as aggregator for grants and financing for municipal sustainability initiatives.
  14. Promote voluntary sign-on of other local governments to County sustainability goals such as energy efficiency; share lessons learned, provide technical and grant-seeking assistance.
  15. Identify sustainability programs in unincorporated Cook that would increase those areas’ value to their neighboring communities.
  16. Where appropriate, use the County’s purchasing power, or regulatory authority, especially to boost emerging sustainable market activities such as renewable energy or recycled/reused products.
  17. Serve as center for information sharing on sustainability; especially by establishing a link between efficiency and sustainability. Use case studies and models, promote good resources on the County’s website, conduct a sustainability survey and promote peer learning. Consider annual sustainability summit.
  18. Create “green employee” outreach program for County employees. Promote information about progress the County is making, how employees can be sustainable at work and in their communities.
  19. Target economic development assistance and job training to green jobs in materials reuse, energy efficiency retrofit and building technology, water conservation and green infrastructure.

 

Energy

Cook County Government

  1. Hospital and Corrections Campuses: perform retro-commissioning and “low hanging fruit” projects. Pursue 15% energy reduction from buildings not in ESCO’s. Water conservation to save further energy.
  2. Suburban Courthouses, Highway Facilities and Administration buildings: Pursue ESCOs where appropriate and continue to implement recommendations from Energy Audits.
  3. Integrate known project needs and operational cost savings into 2014 budget and capital planning processes.
  4. Hire appropriate energy management staff to coordinate energy projects and monitor energy use and attain energy incentive grants.
  5. Create an energy efficiency revolving loan fund within the County’s budget.
  6. Analyze unique opportunities such as possible co-generation of electric from steam operation at jail.
  7. Invest in technology to support energy management and use benchmarking as a tool to prioritize energy efficiency improvements.
  8. Continue benchmarking to identify further energy consumption anomalies and document results of efficiency efforts.
  9. Create an umbrella green coordinating group among Depts./Offices.
  10. Build Energy Efficiency goals into Performance Measures of Depts./Offices
  11. Revise County’s energy procurement guidelines to include metrics for no-coal and renewable energy.
  12. Institutionalize employee behavioral changes to include efficiency and begin charge-back system for department energy costs.
  13. As energy use is reduced, analyze cost and feasibility of renewables installations.

Cook County Community

  1. Establish a program, including appropriate staffing, to engage suburban municipalities in energy efficiency investment, data sharing programs. This could take the form of an “energy concierge” who assists local governments to understand the benefits of energy efficiency; which of their buildings are good candidates, the various technical assistance programs and financial benefits available from the state and utilities and promulgates peer case studies and best practices.
  2. Work with utilities to improve data tracking systems and information sharing with local communities.
  3. Provide technical assistance for grant writing and efficiency program assistance to municipalities.

 

 

Transportation

Cook County Government

  1. County Vehicle Fleet – Needs same analytic approach as applied to energy.
  2. Coordinate FPD bike trail planning with local alternative transportation planning.
  3. Analyze options for alternative fuels, fueling stations for County fleet, to reduce GHG emissions and to save money.
  4. Seek grants available for alternative-vehicle fleet and fueling station projects.

Cook County Community

  1. Work with Cook County appointees to transit boards and CMAP to advocate for investments and operating budgets that strengthen transit options within Cook County.
  2. Target a significant percent of County tax and economic development incentives to within ½ mile of transit stations.
  3. Prioritize Community Development Block Grant funds and County tax and economic development incentives to cargo and transit oriented development opportunities.
  4. Invest HOME to support affordable housing in transit oriented developments. Support access to suburban office parks by supporting Transportation Management Associations.

 

 

Waste

Cook County Government

  1. Coordinate a municipal solid waste and recycling reporting system for Cook County municipalities and County government offices. Establish baseline numbers.
  2. With commitments from County waste agencies and unaffiliated municipalities, develop plans to meet diversion and reduction goals.
  3. Expand waste audits of Cook County government facilities to identify diversion opportunities, including opportunities to reduce costs or increase revenues..
  4. Increase the use of online services in County government.
  5. Analyze supply chain for opportunities to boost the market for recycled/recyclable materials, to reduce packaging, to substitute services (e.g. web-based) for physical products, to reduce use of products containing toxic substances, etc.

Cook County Community

  1. Aggressively seek grant funding for communities lacking residential curbside recycling.
  2. Analyze impacts of further landfill closures on community costs to transport waste; use information to leverage diversion programs.
  3. Building on successes of the Demolition Debris Diversion Ordinance, identify ways to expand local business and job opportunities in recycling, green packaging, and other materials reuse sectors.
  4. Support a comprehensive recycling law with minimum requirements for residential, commercial and industrial facilities.
  5. Boost the fledgling food scrap composting market by requiring facilities generating large quantities of food scrap per day to compost, and working with municipalities on local compost pickup programs.
  6. Promote public and private sector investment opportunities in local recycling, composting, and waste to energy projects.

 

 

Water

Cook County Government

  1. 30 day trials of corrections-specific plumbing fixtures at DoC – adopt what works.
  2. Add water conservation (and energy savings tied to water conservation) to DoC, HHS ESCO’s, or pursue independently if financing is more favorable.
  3. Undertake a comprehensive program of water audits of corporate/courts buildings using existing FM staff and outside training. Do 69W before restack makes the building more dense. Within set of suburban courthouses, focus where water rates are highest (Maywood, Rolling Meadows).
  4. Become a USEPA “WaterSense” partner and follow guidelines for purchasing water-saving fixtures and appliances
  5. Join Chicago Green Healthcare Initiative or similar resource group(s) and use peer learning to search for additional water savings at Health & Hospitals.
  6. Analyze use reduction options at cooling towers.
  7. Pursue alternative landscape options to water use for irrigation (County does little irrigation but where used, alternatives should be considered).
  8. Consider solar thermal for domestic hot water heating after reduction of water use intensity.
  9. Examine large uses of water, e.g. once-through cooling at 118 N. Clark (seek ways to reduce), steam heating at DoC (Explore for cogeneration of electricity)
  10. Look for appropriate opportunities for harvesting and reuse of “free” water sources, such as rainwater and air conditioning condensate. Illinois Department of Public Health is working on new Plumbing Code standards, which may open up these and other new opportunities.
  11. Integrate water saving investments into multi-year capital/operating budgets.
  12. Centralize water data/analysis. Include water bills in EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager – keep data current.
  13. Seek agreement with City of Chicago to install “smart” water meters at all County facilities.
  14. Pursue discussion with City of “on-bill financing” for water saving investments.
  15. While rebates for water efficiency fixtures are less available than for energy efficiency investments, pursue what is available (e.g. current DCEO offer of free low-flow kitchen pre-rinse nozzles).
  16. Reduce water-use impact of supplies and services purchased by the County.

Cook County Community

  1. Analyze County’s purchasing/supply chain for indirect water impacts – find ways to reduce.
  2. Install public education signage on water conservation fixtures in County buildings that are open to the public.
  3. Become a USEPA WaterSense promotional partner and help disseminate information to local communities on water saving opportunities.
  4. Share best practices/ successes among Cook municipalities.
  5. Play an active role with suburban communities on joint planning on water related issues – e.g. seeking federal grants for green infrastructure investments.
  6. Consider use of CDBG and other federal development funds to assist local communities in saving water and reducing their stormwater impacts.
  7. Continue to assist local communities in identifying energy efficiencies in their water supply and pumping infrastructure.

 

 

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