District receives energy reduction grant for pools

(9.15.15) The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus today awarded an $18,000 grant to the Skokie Park District for energy efficient upgrades to the water circulation systems at the Devonshire Aquatic Center and Skokie Water Playground. The project is predicted to reduce annual electricity use by more than 152,000 kWh – the equivalent of nearly $12,000 in annual energy costs. 

“We don’t have many opportunities to reduce fixed costs," said the district's special facility manager Scott Runkle. This grant will allow us to keep our cost of operation as low as possible.” 

Runkle explained that nine variable frequency drives (VFDs) were installed on district pool pumps, with more than half of the drives working 24 hours a day for the entire pool season, saving the park district substantial money.

"When we turn on all of our features every day — like the big red bucket, spraypads, and water slides — we save money there, too, as they now don’t create an energy spike," said Runkle. "The VFDs allow our equipment to run much more efficiently, helping to extend their life."

The grant was administered by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, a non-profit organization promoting regional collaboration throughout metropolitan Chicago. Funding was provided by the DCEO as part of its Illinois Energy Now Program. The Mayors Caucus administers DCEO funding in partnership with 360 Energy Group to provide financial and technical assistance to help public agencies update and retrofit facilities, improving energy efficiency and saving money.

“The Mayors Caucus Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program has been of tremendous benefit to both the economy and environment of Northeastern Illinois,” said Mayor John Ostenburg of Park Forest, co-chair of the Caucus’ Environment Committee. “Over the past four years, we have invested almost $8 million in 140 public agencies, leveraging almost $13 million in local community investment. And doing so has reduced annual carbon emissions in our region by more than 24,000 tons– the emissions equivalent of over 4,000 cars.”

For more information about the Mayors Caucus Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program, go to