June 24 2013

Creating A Sustainable Environment in Kane County, IL

Back in January, I wrote an article that discussed the recent planning efforts of Kane County, IL.  The decision to make “Healthy People, Healthy Living, Healthy Communities” the theme of the Kane County 2040 Plan “recognizes and emphasizes the connection between the most important resource in Kane County – its people – with the opportunities and barriers for healthy living created by the built and natural environment, and how together they shape the overall health of communities.”  Since that time, I have discussed several concurrent planning efforts that are taking place throughout the County to make the 2040 Plan a reality, including the Kane County Bus Rapid Transit Plan, the Kane County Health Impact Assessment and the Kane County Planning Cooperative.

Another key component of the Kane County 2040 planning initiative is to create a framework for the sustainable use of the County’s resources.  The County cannot achieve “Healthy Communities” without tackling some very difficult issues related to the consumption of energy.  The Kane County 2040 Energy Plan attempts to do exactly that.

“The Kane County 2040 Energy Plan (KC2040EP) is an update to the Kane County Energy Plan completed in 2005 that focused on how projected growth would impact electricity consumption in the county.”  Since that time, the County has set its sights on becoming the “healthiest county in Illinois.”  In order to achieve this goal, the County has developed a range of urban planning initiatives and policies that address a variety of aspects related to the health of Kane County citizens.  The Kane County 2040 Energy Plan has been updated to include specific strategies to help aid the County in achieving sustainable energy consumption patterns.

“Two-thirds of the Chicago region’s greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to energy consumption in buildings.  Taking into consideration the projected growth in Kane County, it is possible to reduce energy consumption by implementing strategies that address consumer behavior and utilize existing and future technologies.”  The 2040 Energy Plan attempts to reach the goal of reducing energy consumption by alternately serving as an educational piece, informing the reader about key national trends associated with energy consumption, and a technical guide, addressing specific energy consumption patterns in Kane County and discussing key strategies that can alter these patterns.

The Kane County 2040 Energy Plan has three overarching goals to reduce energy consumption throughout the County:

  1. Kane County will be a leader and role model in the area of energy efficiency within the county and throughout the region;
  2. Kane County will encourage both municipalities and specific sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, etc.) to set goals to reduce energy consumption that will lead to both environmental and economic benefits; and
  3. Kane County will reduce energy consumption in county-owned buildings by 10 to 25 percent, based on the specific energy and cost saving opportunities indicated in each building’s energy audit reports. Performance monitoring will track progress and identify adjustments to energy efficient improvements needed to achieve optimal savings.

Sustainability Pyramid

The three overarching goals have multiple, detailed strategies and actions associated with them to better ensure that they will be realized.  It is the hope of Kane County planners that this plan, combined with the many other County planning efforts, will help guide the County towards a more sustainable future.

Do you think that your city can benefit from an energy plan?  Be sure to share your thoughts below.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Sean Glowacz

Sean Glowacz holds a Masters of Urban Planning and Public Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sean spent two years at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning as a Research Assistant. His work focused on various tasks related to the GO TO 2040 plan, the comprehensive regional plan to help Chicagoland’s seven counties and 284 communities plan for sustainable prosperity through mid-century and beyond. Sean was then employed by Kane County for three years as a Land Use Planner, primarily working on their Quality of Kane campaign, an effort to help bring Healthy People, Healthy Living, and Healthy Communities to Kane County through cutting-edge planning policies and practices. Currently, Sean is employed by Target Group, Inc., working on large scale economic development projects in the City of Chicago. Currently residing in Chicago, Sean introduced readers to an array of urban planning projects that are taking place throughout the Chicagoland area.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 24th, 2013 at 9:28 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Energy, Environment, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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