This morning, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and the DuPage Green Government Council launched Cool DuPage, a county-wide initiative aimed to reduce energy consumption and improve air quality. Homeowners, businesses and public agencies are encouraged to help preserve the environment and save money.
The Cool DuPage effort is part of the Sierra Club's nationwide Cool Counties initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. DuPage County has set a goal to reduce emissions 10 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030, based on 2007 levels. The county-wide impact equates to the elimination of more than 250 million gallons of gasoline emissions into the air.
"For more than two decades, DuPage County has been a leader in environmental practices. We have implemented a series of policies that benefit both consumers and the environment. I am proud of the role that we've played. But now it's time to elevate our efforts. Today I invite the community to join this Cool DuPage initiative as we strive to be green and save green," said Cronin.
In order to meet the energy efficiency goals, Cronin invited community members, environmental leaders and utility company representatives to serve on the DuPage Green Government Council. For more than a year, the council, led by Brook McDonald of The Conservation Foundation, has worked diligently on the DuPage County Energy Conservation and Air Quality Improvement Plan which serves as a roadmap for the Cool DuPage effort.
"The Cool DuPage effort is meant to spur energy conservation throughout the entire county. In order to achieve these goals, we need everyone to participate. The business community will play an integral role helping us reach our goal as they consume more than 50 percent of all energy generated in the U.S. Since they are the largest consumers, businesses provide the best opportunity for savings," said McDonald.
DuPage Environmental Committee Chairman Tony Michelassi said homeowners, churches and schools can also play a role in the Cool DuPage effort.
"Anyone can participate in an energy audit. You will learn how much energy you use, where it is being wasted and what improvements can be made to save money," said Michelassi.
Participating households could see an average annual savings of $180 with a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption and nearly $360 at the 20 percent reduction target. Businesses have a potential to save up to $120,000 annually for a 500,000 square-foot office building.
The County launched a website at DuPageCo.Org/CoolDuPage that provides a variety of information about how consumers can reduce energy consumption while saving money. The website also provides information about incentive programs, rebates and other energy saving solutions.