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Energy Impact Illinois
Each year as winter approaches, homeowners resolve to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. More often than not, the project never gets off the ground. The stumbling block: having to figure out what work needs to be done, who will do it, and how to pay for it.
This year can be different. One simple phone call can get the whole process under way.
Energy Impact Illinois (EI2), Nicor Gas, and ComEd make it easy and affordable for homeowners to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. The program offers home energy assessments, connections to certified energy-efficiency contractors and instant rebates for a significant portion of the cost of the efficiency upgrades.
The program offers home energy assessments, connections to certified energy-efficiency contractors and instant rebates for a significant portion of the cost of the efficiency upgrades.
Impact House Party
The homeowner’s first step is to contact Energy Impact Illinois and set up an appointment for a home energy assessment. A certified energy-efficiency contractor will then inspect the home, using an infrared camera to detect air leaks and checking to make sure the house is venting properly. The resulting report will identify the most effective improvements, their estimated cost and the payback time.
The energy assessment is valued at $400-$800 but is available to Nicor customers for only $49. Even better, Energy Impact Illinois is so eager to spread the word about its rebate program that homeowners who host an Impact House Party for 5-10 of their friends and neighbors will receive their energy audit free.
The one-and-a-half-hour house party features a brief explanation of the program by an EI2 field representative followed by an energy-assessment demonstration by an EI2-approved contractor.
Generous Instant Rebates
Almost all homes let too much air leak in and out and have insufficient attic insulation. In most cases, therefore, the EI2 energy assessment will identify better air sealing and insulation as the most cost-effective improvements to make. The average cost to properly insulate and weatherize a home is roughly $2,000-$4,000, but by making these two efficiency upgrades, homeowners can expect to reduce their energy use by 15-35 percent. To encourage homeowners, Energy Impact Illinois is offering instant rebates for 70 percent of the cost of the air sealing and insulation (up to $1,750). Once the work is complete – usually within 30 days of the initial phone call – Energy Impact Illinois ensures that the work was done correctly and safely, and the rebate is processed automatically.
Homeowners who want to undertake larger-scale energy-efficiency projects can take advantage of Energy Impact Low-Interest Loans. This loan program eliminates upfront costs and gives homeowners an extended repayment period. And for a limited time, Energy Impact Illinois will pay the first year of interest, with any additional years at 8 percent interest or lower for qualified borrowers.
The rebate program is available to homeowners of all income levels. Eligible residences include single-family homes, condos in buildings of up to four units with individual heating and/or cooling, and buildings of up to four units with shared heating and/or cooling equipment. (Other EI2 energy saving programs are available for owners of larger multifamily buildings.)
homeowners interested in the rebate program should not delay in contacting Energy Impact Illinois. The program funding comes from by Nicor Gas’ Energy Efficiency Program, ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Home program, and the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The federal stimulus funding will end in mid-May 2013.
The program funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will end in mid-May 2013.
Energy Star Certificate
Participating homeowners will receive an Illinois Home Performance with Energy Star Certificate of Completion detailing the improvements made and the resulting energy savings. This performance rating can be included in the multiple listing service should the homeowner later want to sell the house.
According to Mary Edsey, EI2 Regional Lead Field Organizer, third-party certification can bring big benefits. A recent study in California found that homes with “green” labels, such as Energy Star, achieved an average nine percent higher sales price than comparable homes without the rating. And a study in Oregon found that third-party certified sustainable homes in Portland and Seattle sold faster than those without a certificate.
Online Information Hub
The EI2 website provides easy access to a wealth of information and resources designed to help homeowners, multifamily building-owners, businesses, nonprofits and governments cut energy costs. MyHomeEQ is a key feature on the residential page, making it easy for users to compare their home to similar homes and explore ways to save energy and lower their utility bills. Other sections include a screened list of qualified contractors, details about rebates, discounts, and other financing opportunities, and tips for apartment-renters.