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The City’s Office of Sustainability has recruited more than a dozen Northwestern University students to pound the pavement during the month of January, visiting area businesses and encouraging them to go green and save green by signing up for ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business (SIYB) program.

As a participant in the ComEd Community Energy Challenge , $350,000 in SIYB program incentives was set aside for Evanston businesses exclusively. This funding is still available, but it must be spent by Jan. 31. The reserved dollars for the 2009 program year are meant to help ensure that Evanston businesses will be able to participate in this beneficial program to “go green and save green.”

“Since July, we’ve worked with the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, hosted informational events, and issued news alerts to notify businesses of this limited funding opportunity, but with over 1,000 small businesses in Evanston, we knew we needed to do more to reach this audience,” said Carolyn Collopy, the City’s sustainability coordinator. “The Northwestern interns have been a great asset to this effort. They are enthusiastic about helping businesses identify opportunities to save energy and reduce their operational costs. This has been a great partnership and their successful outreach can only serve to better Evanston.”  

The student volunteers received a brief training on simple energy efficiency measures common to small businesses. With this training, they are able to help businesses identify basic electric efficiency measures that qualify for ComEd’s program and provide assistance with the program application.

Now in its second year, the ComEd Smart Ideas for Your Business program offers prescriptive and custom incentives to facilitate the implementation of cost effective energy efficiency improvements for non-residential (commercial and industrial) customers.

If a business has a project that meets the ComEd Smart Ideas for Your Business criteria and would like to apply for Evanston’s reserved program allotment through the CEC, contact Ms. Collopy at or 847-448-8069.