Reducing Energy Consumption
Energy efficient lighting
Energy efficient heating and cooling
Installing renewable energy systems
Installing reflective paving
Carbon trading and reporting
What is it?
Energy-efficient heating and cooling. The energy required to heat and cool the buildings and residences that populate the Village is significant. To contain long term operating costs, building owners have a vested interest in planning the most efficient systems possible, but energy efficiency is also an air quality issue. By using the least amount of energy possible to power its facilities, owners will cause the least possible impact on local air quality due to power generated by coal-fired power plants. When designing energy-efficient systems, owners could consider radiant heating, whereby floors and ceilings radiate heat to people and objects in a space; and, displacement ventilation, whereby buoyancy forces generated by heat sources (such as people, lighting, computers, electrical equipment, etc.) in a room move contaminants and heat to the return air exhaust grilles above.
Installing renewable energy systems. In addition to designing a more energy efficient community, the reliance on traditional power sources can be further reduced through the use of renewable power sources. Traditional, turbine-based wind power systems clearly are not an option for the Village, but new designs, which are low-slung, horizontal and roof-based could be a consideration. The abundance of trees may be a challenge for solar photovoltaic systems on a large scale. Indoor heating and cooling can be made more efficient through the use of geothermal systems and solar walls. Biofuels are also emerging sources of energy.
Carbon Trading, Carbon Reporting. One of the most significant trends in Sustainability that has evolved over the past few years has been the emergence of carbon reporting outlets and carbon trading schemes. To issue data on carbon emissions, organizations must collect and monitor a variety of data; they must be able to quantify their direct emissions (from vehicles and local power generators) and indirect emissions (from utilities required to maintain operations). Carbon trading markets allow organizations to profit from their emissions reduction efforts. As companies, or cities, reduce their emissions rates, they can trade their excess “credits” with those entities that exceed the allowable limits set by the exchange. Those who exceed their credits can also purchase additional credits with the proceeds being invested by the exchange in renewable energy projects.
At this time in the United States, participation in carbon reporting is voluntary. There is a widely held belief that such reporting will become mandatory within a short time frame, and many components of our society will need to comply with the regulations that will accompany the reporting mandates. Facilities that are unable to control their carbon emissions will become liabilities to their municipalities.
Why it is important
More efficient use of energy is at the core of Sustainability – for environmental and economic reasons. It lessens the depletion of non-renewable natural resources, produces less pollution (carbon emissions), reduces overloads and prolongs life of existing infrastructure, allows more investment in social benefits and improves the quality of life. Since the efficient use of energy consumption has economic benefits, there is great motivation for this one item because it has numerous downstream benefits not only in reducing costs of new power generating facilities but also operational costs in existing facilities. The alignment of sustainable design with economic savings combines environmental and economic benefits and is the underlying power that pushes Sustainability beyond just a good idea to a necessary strategy.
Village Hall Energy Efficient Lighting Upgrade
The 2011 Public Safety Department renovation included the replacement of existing indoor lighting fixtures with high efficiency bulbs and ballasts. In fact, the lighting component of the project was expanded to include replacing all old light fixtures outside of the renovated area, some of which were original to the building built in 1956. The end result is twofold: improved lighting quality and lower utility bills. The $68,000 lighting replacement project (labor & materials) was offset by a $15,102 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and a $17,515 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.