Mayor Johnson Announces Request for Proposals for $15M Residential Decarbonization Retrofit Program

July 20, 2023

Selected providers will retrofit income-qualified homes to reduce Chicago’s carbon footprint, decrease fossil fuel combustion, and lower resident utility bills

Mayor Brandon Johnson announced today the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select providers to administer the Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program. This program will advance the equitable decarbonization of Chicago’s one-to-four-unit residential buildings by providing low- and moderateincome homeowners with home upgrades including new insulation and heat pump heating and cooling systems. Retrofits may also include induction stoves, heat pump water heaters, heat pump clothes dryers, air sealing around doors and windows, smart thermostats, and other energy-saving measures.

The Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program will simultaneously address critical needs such as:

  1. Reducing Chicago's overall emissions;
  2. Providing immediate benefits to low- and moderate-income Chicagoans including improved indoor air quality, increased cost savings, and lower utility bills;
  3. And creating increased demand for local contractors with the skills and experience to install cutting-edge, energy-efficient equipment while enhancing pathways for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) workers and business owners to meaningfully participate in the clean energy economy.

“This $15 million dollar investment is just the beginning of our commitment to implementing a just energy transition for residents and workers in our City, particularly those hit first and worst by climate change,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “The Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program will catalyze our efforts to provide critical solutions for residents on the frontlines of the climate crisis as we take a leadership role citywide in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

This program is a partnership between the Department of Housing (DOH) and the Office of Climate and Environmental Equity (OCEE). Initial funding of $15M will come from the Chicago Recovery Plan. This investment is expected to decarbonize between 200 and 350 homes at no cost to income-qualified homeowners before the end of 2025. Program providers—third parties with experience weatherizing and/or electrifying homes in cold climates—will serve as the primary coordinating entity for the work, carrying out tasks like performing energy assessments, coordinating with homeowners, and managing contractors. Providers will also be expected to measure and report on the program’s impact on energy usage and utility bills.

"The work of the Chicago Department of Housing is to develop and promote quality, affordable, safe, and healthy homes across all 77 communities. This includes helping homeowners with lower incomes reduce their energy bills, increase their resilience to extreme weather, and improve air quality in their homes,” said Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara.

The Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program is aligned with communitycentered climate solutions in 2022, as well as recommendations put forth by the Chicago Building Decarbonization Policy Working Group in October 2022. The Program design is informed by 17 expert responses to a Request for Information published by DOH in February 2023. DOH continues to integrate climate resiliency into its work through programs like this, as well as its 2023 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) and Architectural and Technical Standards, which include new requirements related to energy efficiency and decarbonization in multifamily buildings.

“Nearly 70 percent of Chicago’s emissions are from buildings, and the City of Chicago recognizes that mitigating the climate crisis and building healthier communities in Chicago begins at home,” says Angela Tovar, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago. “The Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program will accelerate the adoption of energy saving and clean energy strategies for homeowners that need them the most, and will reduce emissions, lower energy consumption and costs, improve indoor air quality, and increase comfort.”

Those interested in responding to the request for proposals or seeking more information on proposal requirements and an upcoming bidders conference should visit Residents interested in participating in the program may reach out to the Department of Housing beginning this fall to connect with program providers once they are selected.


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