Vernon Township looks at strength-in-numbers approach to green initiatives

  • This is an aerial view of the solar panel array at Big Hollow District 38 in Ingleside. Vernon Township is looking to coordinate green efforts among towns, school districts and other units of government in its jurisdiction.

      This is an aerial view of the solar panel array at Big Hollow District 38 in Ingleside. Vernon Township is looking to coordinate green efforts among towns, school districts and other units of government in its jurisdiction. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2020

 
 
Posted1/6/2022 5:30 AM

Vernon Hills could join an effort to capitalize on anticipated federal funding for green initiatives and projects.

The Vernon Township Energy Resiliency Committee has been soliciting communities, school districts and others as a strength-in-numbers approach to leverage expected federal funding through the proposed Build Back Better plan.

 

"The purpose of this commission is to explore projects and initiatives within our area in hopes of being more energy-efficient in our government operations and community and also work to reduce carbon emissions long term," Vernon Hills Village Manager Kevin Timony said.

"The hope is that by joining together, the governments in the area can take advantage of economies of scale which will not only help have an impact on the greater environment but also make grant applications more attractive and marketable," he added.

Timony outlined the idea Tuesday for the village board, but trustees at this point are noncommittal. Timony and Trustee Nancy Forster attended a kickoff meeting Dec. 12 with representatives from communities and other entities in the township.

"We created this to work within the communities in the township's purview to collaborate on planning and applying for funding," said Vernon Township Supervisor Jonathan Altenberg.

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Park and library districts also are on the potential member list, but the organization is still developing. Altenberg said the township has created a project manager position and won't be asking participants to commit funding.

Under the plan, an energy consultant would be selected to assess the facilities of each member entity, Timony said.

"Once we have all that data as a group, we can come together and see if there are any opportunities to work together on any larger grant applications," he said.

Representatives from the village, Vernon Hills Park District, Countryside Fire Protection District, Hawthorn Elementary District 73 and Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District will meet next week to discuss opportunities on the local level, Timony added.

The township commission is scheduled to meet Jan. 18.

"The faster we are in getting where we need to be to take advantage of the funding opportunities, the better," Altenberg said.

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