Hoffman Estates' efforts to educate residents, builders and designers about energy efficiency recently earned the village a national grand prize award for excellence in energy code compliance.
The village, which fell in the small jurisdiction category, received the award from the Institute for Market Transformation and the Global Buildings Performance Network during the International Code Council's annual conference Oct. 22.
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The award also recognizes the village's efficient distribution of an Energy Efficient Conservation Block Grant.
"I'm proud of my staff," said Don Plass, the village's director of code enforcement. "They take this very seriously."
Hoffman Estates was awarded the grant more than two years ago. Since then, Plass, along with four other staff members, have been trained and certified as Building Performance Institute building energy analysts with money from the grant.
The grant was used to purchase equipment for energy assessments, allowing residents the opportunity to get assessments on their homes from the village at a reduced cost. Plass said the village has done assessments on more than 100 homes, helping residents make them more energy efficient.
"We're also making the houses more comfortable and healthy for our residents," he said.
An "energy house" display in the village hall lobby also was created with money from the grant. Visitors were able to physically see on the "house" a variety of energy products and how to install them. Several educational videos, such as one on how to properly re-roof a house, were made with the help of the grant and aired on the village's cable and YouTube channels.
Plass said the village is consistently at least 90 percent in compliance with the Illinois Energy Conservation Code for both residential and commercial construction projects. He hopes to continue the work in the future, noting that besides the health and comfort benefits, enforcing energy codes also helps residents save money on energy bills.
"I think we're doing very well," he said. "We stay up with continuing education and I think that's probably the key to this, to be able to be informed and up to date with any changes they have (in energy code compliance)."