August 7, 2012

Residential Phase of Retrofit Chicago Launched

Residential Partnership Focuses on Single Family and Multi-Unit Buildings; Will Save Up to $400 Per Unit Annually While Creating Hundreds of Jobs

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The City of Chicago today launched the third phase of Retrofit Chicago – the Residential Partnership. This effort brings together non-profit groups, utility companies, and city government programs to accelerate the number of retrofits being completed in single family and multi-unit apartment buildings, which account for half of the city’s energy consumption. The first set of Retrofit Chicago brochures were mailed last week to multi-unit buildings in their latest water bills.

“Building on the success of our public and commercial buildings initiatives, this phase of Retrofit Chicago will help homeowners across the city modernize their homes while at the same time creating new jobs and bringing real savings to building owners,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Retrofit Chicago will impact communities that need the help the most and nearly 8,000 homes and apartments will soon be able to realize hundreds of dollars in annual savings. This would not be possible without a broad, important partnership of city government, utility companies and community organizations.”

Mayor Emanuel’s Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership will bring together ComEd, Peoples Gas, CNT Energy, the Community Investment Corporation, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, and the City of Chicago. 

Residential buildings consume almost half of the City’s total energy.  This is due, in part, to the fact that older buildings are historically inefficient and the average age of residential buildings in Chicago is 83 years old.  Many owners find energy efficiency improvements cost prohibitive and confusing and simply do not know where to start making improvements.  The City’s residential buildings initiative aims to help owners easily and affordably retrofit their homes and buildings, solving these problems by providing access to financial incentives for home and building improvements, a one-stop-shop to access programs, and coordinated and targeted outreach in designated energy zones.

  • Incentives – Home and building owners will have access to FREE energy efficient equipment, such as highly efficient light bulbs, faucet aerators, and showerheads, and over $22 million in rebates, low interest financing, and free energy audits for buildings.
  • One-Stop-Shop – Owners can call one phone number (855-9-IMPACT) to learn about and apply for available programs and financing opportunities and find all program information on the City’s sustainability website:
  • Acceleration – The partnership will accelerate the pace of retrofit work through a coordinated outreach campaign in targeted neighborhoods.  These efforts will include joint community events, presentations to building owner and homeowner associations, informational house parties, and marketing with City programs.

The partners will focus their efforts in 12 community areas to save owners money on their energy bills, make their families and tenants more comfortable, and create jobs.

  • Impact – More than 6,700 apartments and 1,000 single family homes will be retrofitted through the Retrofit Chicago Partnership over the next 18-24 months resulting in the creation of over 200 jobs. Apartment buildings that are retrofitted increase in value and can save on average $10,000 annually in energy bills. Homeowners who retrofit their home will see a 15 percent reduction in their energy costs, approximately $350 annually.
  • Zones – Partners will be coordinating their program offering in 12 areas of the city to ensure efficient and cost effective program delivery.  Community areas were selected based on having a high concentration of apartments or single family homes and a substantial opportunity to improve energy efficiency.  The community areas that partners will focus on first are Auburn Gresham, Austin, Avalon Park, Beverly, Chatham, Edgewater, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Mount Greenwood, Rogers Park, South Shore, and West Ridge.

In addition to the Residential partnership, the City of Chicago is enhancing its TIF-Neighborhood Improvement Program (TIF-NIP) to include energy efficiency measures such as air sealing and insulation.  These grants, which fund home repair for low and moderate income families in blighted communities, will now also help these homeowners reduce their energy costs.  These changes were incorporated into new funding for Humboldt Park’s Chicago/Central Park TIF district and Woodlawn’s West Woodlawn TIF district, which were introduced into City Council in August.  Changes to current districts will be introduced into City Council beginning in September.

Owners can learn more about money saving energy efficiency programs available to them and can request an energy assessment by calling 855-9-IMPACT or visiting:

This project was facilitated by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which coordinated with other city departments to establish the Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership.  Through in-depth analysis of energy usage data provided by the utilities, the Innovation Delivery Team determined energy efficiency zones where retrofits would have the greatest energy savings.  The team also structured the partnership so homeowners can take advantage of multiple programs, increasing the likelihood of retrofits being completed.  In addition, the team identified outreach channels to maximize exposure of the programs and accelerate retrofits in Chicago.

Mayor Emanuel's Innovation Delivery Team develops and delivers powerful solutions to major urban challenges. The Team brings rigorous focus and best-in-class practice to identifying powerful solutions, developing implementation plans and then managing for results. Chicago is one of five cities to receive an Innovation Delivery Team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Part of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Project, grants were also awarded to Atlanta, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.


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