Poll says support overwhelming in Northwest Illinois for clean energy
A new poll shows agreement throughout Illinois on energy issues; citizens look to government to spur efficiency and renewable energy.
CHICAGO, Oct. 1, 2001The vast majority of Illinois residents, from both urban and rural areas, want to see widespread use of cleaner energy technologies: increased energy efficiency and development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. This finding comes from a recent statewide survey commissioned by an independent, nonprofit, grant-making organization, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF). ICECF supports projects that improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources, and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout Illinois.
Considering the diversity of Illinois communities, it is remarkable that so many residents across the state share the same views on clean energy issues, said Jim Mann, ICECF Executive director.
Four out of five people surveyed want state-of-the-art energy-efficient equipment and design to be used for all new buildings and major remodeling projects in Illinois. Nearly 90 percent of people surveyed called for renewable sources of energy to be developed to help meet future energy demands.
People in northwest Illinois consider energy to be an important issue, according to the survey. Nearly three-quarters (68 percent) are concerned that Illinois will face an
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energy shortage similar to the one experienced by California over the last year. At the same time, they are skeptical that people will voluntarily take the necessary steps to avoid such problems: 80 percent of northwestern Illinois survey respondents believe that most Americans will not seriously try to conserve energy unless they are required to do so by government or forced to do so by availability and price. Northwest Illinois residents expressed in the survey that they expect local and state government leaders to ensure that Illinois takes advantage of renewable energy resources and the latest energy efficiency technologies.
As we begin to provide funding for clean energy projects in Illinois, its important to know the attitudes and concerns of the people our programs will affect, said Peter P. Peters, chair of the ICECF Board of Trustees. By using the information gathered through the survey, we can better identify those programs that are a high priority for Illinois citizens and allocate funds accordingly.
Northwest Illinois Residents Call for greater efficiency in personal energy use
Northwest Illinois residents take seriously their responsibility to conserve energy. Survey respondents expressed their support for buying and using energy-efficient products:
l 82 percent said it is extremely or very important to them to select energy-efficient products when they shop.
l 82 percent said they would buy energy efficient products just because they use less energy and are better for the environment, regardless of whether they save money in the long run.
l 43 percent report energy efficiency is their most important consideration when they shop for major appliances such as air conditioners or refrigerators, compared with 23 percent who said purchase price and 12 percent who said specific features and options are the most important considerations.
In addition, more than three quarters of northwest Illinois survey respondents report that they conserve energy by insulating their home, turning heat down in winter and turning off home electronics like computers and stereos when not in use.
Northwest Illinois Residents Look for Improved Energy Efficiency in Buildings
In addition to reducing their personal energy use, most northwest Illinois residents believe that energy efficiency also needs to influence how buildings are designed and built:
l 72 percent said it is extremely or very important for local and state government to make new and existing buildings more energy efficient.
l 85 percent favor requiring state-of-the-art energy efficiency in any new construction projects paid for with state government funds.
l 72 percent favor changing local building codes to require new and remodeled businesses and homes to be energy efficient.
In October, the Foundation is sponsoring a workshop in Normal to help the city integrate energy efficiency into its downtown redevelopment plans and pursue changes to its building code, said Ed Miller, ICECF program director. Chicago recently adopted an energy efficiency building code, and normal could become a model for how other cities and towns around the state can do the same thing.
Northwest Illinois – Seeking Renewable Energy and Willing to Pay for It
An overwhelming majority of northwest Illinois residents surveyed want to see the development of clean, renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power to complement current energy supplies, and
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two-thirds of them are willing to pay more for their electricity to make it happen:
l 96 percent think its important for government and energy suppliers to place a high priority on developing solar and wind power to their maximum potential, including 65 percent who think it is extremely or very important for government and energy suppliers to do so.
l 64 percent would be willing to pay an additional charge every month for electricity that is partially generated from wind and solar power.
l 69 percent favor their municipality purchasing at least 10 percent of the electricity for its operations from renewable power sources.
l 73 percent favor legislation that would require at least 10 percent of all electricity sold in Illinois to be generated from renewable power sources.
It is clear that Illinois citizens have a strong interest in developing clean energy in the state, said Howard Learner, chair of the ICECF Trustees Grant Committee. We look forward to supporting programs that respond to that demand by developing wind farms, solar power installations, and other renewable energy sources.
About the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
The ICECF is an independent, nonprofit grantmaking organization that invests in clean energy development and land conservation efforts, working with communities and citizens to improve environmental quality in Illinois. It was established by act of the Illinois legislature and endowed with $225 million from Commonwealth Edison. The Foundation supports programs and projects that will improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources, and preserve and enhance natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout the state. It will be making grants in all of those categories this winter.
Additional information about the survey findings and about the ICECF and its programs can be found at http://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org.