The three-year, $34 million dollar project will replace critical heating, cooling and control systems, install new insulation and upgrade lighting systems for a total of 17 Energy Conservation Measures throughout the campus. The anticipated energy savings realized through these improvements will pay for the cost of the project within 20 years. The project is expected to create more than 350 construction jobs, and features 38 percent Minority and Women and Business participation.
“This critical construction project continues our efforts to modernize Cook County government and promote efficiencies wherever possible, particularly in energy use,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We’re creating jobs, reducing carbon emissions and energy use and bringing County operations into the 21st Century.”
Construction is set encompass 22 buildings totaling four million square feet at the Cook County Jail, as well as the Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center (VRIC) and administration buildings. The work at these facilities continues the efforts already undertaken by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to modernize the County Jail and improve efficiency at the Sheriff’s office.
“Since taking office, modernizing our entire detention facility has been a priority,” said Sheriff Dart. “Because the jail runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week we use much energy; this project will ultimately help reduce that. It is a win-win-win for the County, we are able to reduce costs to taxpayers, reduce energy consumption and at the same time create jobs.”
The Cook County Department of Corrections is one of the largest single site county pre-detention facilities in the United States. The facility covers more than eight city blocks with ten divisions, a health services facility, two education departments, a privatized food service and commissary agency, and four additional onsite Sheriff’s departments.
The project is being implemented by NORESCO which specializes in performance-based contracting to deliver energy and maintenance savings and significant infrastructure upgrades to existing facilities.
In June of 2012, Cook County was the recipient of an award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its Energy Reduction and Cost Savings Initiative. The initiative saved county taxpayers more than $3 million.