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Lake County Forest Preserves Receives $50k Gift for Net-Zero Energy Project 

January 11, 2022 02:40 PM

Lake County Forest Preserves Receives $50k Gift for Net-Zero Energy Project 

LIBERTYVILLE – The Lake County Forest Preserves received its first naming gift to support a new Environmental Education Facility at Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods. Medline, a global healthcare manufacturer and distributor based in Northfield, provided a $50,000 grant to help fund construction of the net-zero energy facility. 
The grant, which was funded through Medline CARES, a philanthropic initiative that invests resources to strengthen communities and support health equity, was made to the Preservation Foundation, which is the 501(c)(3) charitable partner of the Forest Preserves. 
Ryerson has been a center of the Forest Preserves environmental education and programming since it was acquired in 1972. Programs offered here are all based on nature and the environment and designed for all ages. When the new facility is complete, it will replace aging classroom cabins that currently host thousands of school children each year. The new facility is designed to produce enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption.  
“To keep people and the planet safe and healthy, we’re committed to building a more sustainable future,” said Francesca Olivier, senior director of corporate social responsibility at Medline. “We invest heavily in green technologies that help conserve natural resources and reduce waste within our own operations, and believe in the value of bringing those same solutions to partners that are making a difference in our community through environmental education.” 
There are several advantages to moving toward net-zero energy buildings, including lower environmental impacts, reduced operating and maintenance costs, better resiliency to power outages and natural disasters and improved energy security. The Forest Preserves aims to demonstrate that net-zero energy buildings are viable in our region and these technologies can be used on a residential scale.
“We are grateful for Medline’s support as we work to adopt and promote sustainable building technologies and net-zero energy,” said Alex Ty Kovach, executive director of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “Sustainability is core to our mission as a land conservation organization, and reducing energy use across all District operations is identified in our 100-Year Vision for Lake County as a priority for both organizational sustainability and environmental benefits. 
“We hope to work with other corporate leaders in developing similar partnerships to support this and other important projects,” Kovach added.
Featured components and building materials chosen to meet net-zero energy building requirements include: 

  • A 21kW system of rooftop solar panels, similar to what is found on a home or small business
  • HVAC systems and mechanical equipment with the highest efficiency ratings
  • Increased insulation values in the walls and roof
  • High-performing windows and strategic placement to help regulate temperature
  • LED lighting throughout buildings and parking lots
  • Occupancy sensors in rooms and daylight sensors in perimeter spaces
  • EPA Indoor Air Plus requirements for paint and materials
  • Collision-resistant glass windows to help reduce bird strikes 
  • First public building in Lake County to gain Passive House Institute U.S. pre-certification 

Medline will receive naming rights to the entrance lobby of the new facility. Its many sustainable features and technologies will be described through a series of interactive interpretive displays, which will start on the outside of the facility and continue into the lobby. The interpretive plan will educate and inform visitors about the importance of sustainable building technologies as a strategy for mitigating the effects of a changing climate.
“The healthcare industry has an opportunity to be part of the solution in tackling environmental issues through offsetting emissions and reducing waste,” continued Olivier. “That said, we’re proud to help support the Lake County Forest Preserves in taking strides toward its mission in building a more sustainable tomorrow.” 
To date, Medline has invested over $33 million in solar energy and sustainability solutions
About the Lake County Forest Preserves
Founded in 1958, the Lake County Forest Preserves is the principal guardian of Lake County’s natural and cultural resources. More than 31,000 acres are preserved as open space for the public to enjoy, with 64 unique sites connected by 209 miles of trail. With more biodiversity than any other county in Illinois, the Forest Preserves works on a landscape scale to restore our diverse native habitats – including woodlands, prairie, savanna, wetlands, lakes, and streams – to ecological health. Grants and donations are made to its charitable partner, the Preservation Foundation, and support projects and programs that might otherwise go unfunded or take many years to complete. Learn more about the Lake County Forest Preserves at
About Medline
Medline is a healthcare company; a manufacturer, distributor, and solutions provider focused on improving the overall operating performance of healthcare. Partnering with healthcare systems and facilities across the continuum of care, Medline provides the clinical and supply chain resources required for long-term financial viability in delivering high-quality care. With the scale of one of the country’s largest companies and the agility of a family-led business, Medline is able to invest in its customers for the future and rapidly respond to a dynamically changing market with customized solutions. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Medline has 27,000+ employees worldwide and does business in more than 125 countries and territories. Learn more about Medline at

Media Contact: Alex Ty Kovach, executive director of the Lake Couunty Forest Preserves,, 847-968-3338.