Over the course of 2011 Will County completed many of the energy efficiency projects it began over the past two years. The most significant of which was a landfill gas-to-energy project at the County owned Prairie View Landfill.
This $8 million private-public partnership with Waste Management, the landfill’s operator, harnesses the methane gas created by the decomposition of waste that is otherwise flared off. Rather than losing that resource, it is recovered by Caterpillar engines and turned into electricity. As of November, the facility has been generating enough power to meet the needs of 3,000 homes and will be expanded in the coming years.
The County began an effort to overhaul Zoning and Building Codes in a comprehensive manner that has not been done in over 30 years. Public input is currently being sought with the intention to include energy efficiency, alternative energy, recycling, native plantings and many other “green” elements. A new website dedicated to the project and created at no cost to the County is www.renewingwillcounty.com
The Land Use Department’s premiere website, www.willcountygreen.com, reached it’s one year anniversary on America Recycles Day in November. It received five times the annual visits and was complimented with a blog on the New Lenox patch offering weekly briefs on environmental efforts around the area.
The County’s school education program awarded a record 52 area public and private school Earth Flags while the County revamped and launched a new Green Business Star recognition program with six businesses awarded certificates earlier this month. The County held two half-day seminars for businesses, with the next planned for March, in partnership with JJC and featuring speakers from local businesses and statewide organizations offering money saving tips and rebate information on energy use.
Energy efficiency improvements for windows and lighting continued in many of the County buildings as $1.4 million of federal stimulus fund projects were completed. Each of these projects, found on the Initiatives page of the willcountygreen.com website, provided local jobs, required American made materials and result in energy cost savings for the County over multiple decades that the buildings remain in use.
Will County partnered with New Lenox Township, local Churches and Fishers of Men at Sharefest again this past September to offer recycling for electronics, foam plastic, clothing/textiles along with proper disposal of hazardous household products and more. This was one of the largest, of nearly a dozen community events in which the Land Use Department participated.
While 2011 was a busy year, 2012 promises to be even more exciting with the electronics disposal ban, lighting efficiency standard improvements, expansion of the medication take-back program, and much more. Be amoung the first to find out by becoming a Fan of Will County Green’s Facebook page, following us on Twitter, or signing up for our monthly newsletter. Happy New Year!