Promote a Sustainable Environment
Preserve the health of our natural resources, air quality, and our drinking water through the widespread use of sustainable and environmental management practices, effective storm water management, and the enhancement and rehabilitation of lakes and other ecological systems.
Lake County has invested in energy saving improvements to buildings resulting in significant energy savings over the past several years. Building improvements include the installation of energy efficient windows, HVAC improvements, advanced building automation and controls and the installation of more efficient plumbing and electrical systems. The County recently renovated several floors in the Courthouse Administrative Tower, which included window replacements, installation of energy efficient lighting and automation devices. Over a six month time period, the County has saved 778,858 kilowatt hours in electricity, which translates to about 1.5 million kilowatts per year or $97,000 in annual savings. These savings will result in a return on investment of 10 years. The 27% reduction in energy use is equal to a yearly reduction of 1074 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Advancing Efforts to Achieve 60% Recycling
Lake County and other SWALCO members continue to implement strategies toward achieving a 60% recycling rate as identified in the 60% Recycling Task Force Report. Examples include:
- Installation of a clothing and textiles collection box on our Libertyville campus. To date, 815 pounds have been collected.
- Participated in SWALCO’s Reuse A Shoe event again, collecting 818 pairs, an increase of 39% from 2014.
- Received over 370 permits this year which triggered construction and demolition recycling requirements of diverting the majority of that debris from our landfills.
- Collected 56 tons of used tires from Lake County municipalities and residents
- DOT diverted 156,000 pounds of scrap metal
- Reused 3,575 cubic yards of roadway material, 3,687 gallons of motor oil and 470 gallons of anti-freeze
- Started a mini bin program in County offices, which can divert up to 45% of waste at workspaces
Construction & Demolition (C&D) Debris Recycling
In implementing the 60% Recycling Plan, Lake County enacted an ordinance requiring the recycling of construction and demolition debris. In 2014, the Planning Building and Development (PBD) Department received a total of 885 permit applications which triggered the C&D requirements of the ordinance. PBD is in the process of collecting and reporting tonnage data from these permits.
Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup
The Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup (DRWW) has elected an executive board and appointed committee chairs. The DRWW consists of 16 agencies and four associate members that are committed to working together to improve water quality in the Des Plaines River and its tributaries in a cost effective manner to meet Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requirements. The DRWW is in the process of developing a comprehensive monitoring plan. The group also has a new website.
Taking Steps to Reduce Pollution
Water: Lake County Public Works installed enhanced biological nutrient removal systems at two of its wastewater treatment centers, cutting nutrient content by 50% and phosphorous content by 98% in the water that enters our waterways.
Air: The Division of Transportation’s signal coordination and timing (SCAT) projects are reducing not only energy use, but also idling times and emissions. The SCAT projects completed to date have reduced idling times along seven Lake County corridors, saving 544.8 gallons per car per day, or about 185,000 gallons per year. That translates to 1,645 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year.
Best Management Practices Workshops
The Stormwater Management Commission continues its efforts in educating and prioritizing green infrastructure best management practices by completing 18 watershed plans, retrofitting three retention basins and installing nine green infrastructure projects. Its Des Plaines River Watershed Workgroup is in the process of approving a membership and dues agreement that will provide the workgroup with necessary funds to begin implementation of its monitoring program.
Regional Framework Plan
In October 2014, the Lake County Board adopted the Sustainability Chapter of the Lake County Regional Framework Plan which provides goals and indicators for promoting and tracking the County’s and the larger community’s progress in sustainability policies and programs. Staff is now involved in the implementation phase of this project.