- This month, Kane County Connects will highlight the organizations that are working to conserve and protect our local environment. Check out this “Countdown to Earth Day” feature every day from now until April 22 to learn more about the people and projects that are helping to improve sustainability throughout the Fox Valley! In today’s article, we take a closer look at how sustainability measures are being implemented at Kane County Animal Control.
Things are looking so bright around the Kane County Animal Control building these days that the animals have to wear shades!
Over the past few months, the facility has undergone several phases of lighting upgrades and energy-efficiency improvements. Now that these projects are completed, the agency can look forward to saving money on its utility bills every month — which means the savings can be redirected toward expenses for animal care and carrying out other duties of the department.
The recent facility improvements were initiated during a presentation to the Public Health Committee back in March 2015 that highlighted the recommendations from an energy audit completed for the Animal Control building in 2013-2014. The audit quantified opportunities for improving energy efficiency at Animal Control by adding building insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs, and replacing halogen and fluorescent lighting with more efficient bulbs and fixtures.
Kane County’s Division of Environmental & Water Resources and the Facilities Management Department worked together to determine the most cost-effective route for carrying out the audit recommendations, completing much of the work in-house at a minimal cost, and relying on contractual services for larger retrofits.
Insulation was added to the building walls, and a new HVAC system was installed to increase the efficiency and performance of the facility — improvements that will help Animal Control no longer hold the title of “using the most natural gas per square foot of any Kane County government building.”
Indoor and outdoor light fixtures were retrofitted to LED. For a building that can spend $10,000 a year on electricity, with about one-third of that cost coming from lighting, upgrading to LED sooner rather than later made sense.
For instance, the $4,200 invested in retrofitting 88 fluorescent troffer lights and installing six occupancy sensors throughout the building will save the agency almost $1,600 a year in operating costs — a payback of 2.7 years. Some of the less-costly lighting changes, such as switching out halogen bulbs in the parking lot pole lights for LED bulbs, only cost a few hundred dollars but will reduce energy consumption from those fixtures by 70 percent.
Kane County Animal Control Administrator Brett Youngsteadt said the indoor upgrades provide much more consistent light throughout the building.
“They make the rooms brighter and more energy efficient,” he said. “And the brighter outdoor lighting is really appreciated because it increases the safety for our employees that have to work early mornings or come in late at night.”
The real test of the effectiveness of Animal Control’s building upgrades will become clear after analyzing the next year or two of utility consumption and comparing that data to previous years — which is likely to be a real success story for sustainability improvements within Kane County government’s facilities.
“Animal Control is dedicated to helping Kane County be more energy efficient, and providing a better living environment for all the four-legged friends that come through our doors,” Youngsteadt said.
About Kane County Animal Control
It is the duty of the Animal Control Department to:
- Ensure that all domesticated dogs and cats over 4 months of age are vaccinated against Rabies and have a Kane County Rabies Tag.
- Ensure that all reported animal bites are given precautionary attention in relation to the possibility rabies infection.
- Ensure that pet owners are instructed on proper procedures pertaining to animal bites and enforce adherence to these procedures.
- Contain loose\stray dogs in unincorporated Kane County and those towns and villages with whom contracted.
- Investigate nuisance dog complaints in unincorporated Kane County and those towns and villages with whom contracted.
- Investigate complaints of neglected and\or abused dogs.
About the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources
The Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources develops, evaluates, and implements programs to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents and the environment. These programs include the countywide Stormwater Management program, the Kane County Recycles recycling and waste recovery programs, the electric aggregation program, the Sustain Kane program, and other resource conservation and environmental projects.