energy impact illinois

Working Forum for Congregation Green Teams

Congregation green teams and other interested persons are invited to participate in a forum on Thursday, May 8, 7 - 8:30 pm, at the Oak Park Library, Veterans Room.  IGN Logo w NameThe agenda will include:

1. PlanItGreen

  • Present “Check-off” list for congregations, followed by discussion. (Gary Cuneen, Seven Generations Ahead)
  • Break out session, regarding the critical topic areas:Energy – Transportation – Education  --  Water  --  Food  -- Waste - Open Space
  • Each congregation is invited to send at least 3-5 people from their green team to participate in different breakout groups.


2. Energy Impact Illinois

  • Presentation of house of worship energy efficiency program.—Skyler Larrimore, Elevate Energy
  • Case study: First United Methodist Church.
  • Energy efficiency for private residences. And a congregation contest!

The community has been alerted to the importance of restoring the health of our environment, and as was stated at the recent OP Village Board meeting, “There is a lot at stake.”  This is a good opportunity to reruit new members. Educate friends. Now is the time to make change for the good of all, together!

Please RSVP to James Babcock: or 630.740.0638 or Dick Alton: or 773-344-7172.

Home Energy Efficiency Program Extended


Energy Impact Illinois (EI2), the US Department of Energy and utility supported home energy efficiency program, has been extended through most of the summer. Instead of ending on May 1st, the program will cover work that is completed by August 26th.

Scores of people in Oak Park, River Forest, Chicago, and others have already taken advantage of the program. What they get is “one-stop shopping”: qualified energy auditors from EI2 come and analyze what can be done to weatherize the house, at what expense, and providing what savings. EI2 connects people up with contractors that are highly qualified and thoroughly vetted and have a an extra certification from Building Performance Institute.

If the homeowner decides to proceed with the recommended improvements, the program subsidizes 70% of the cost of the work, up to $2500 ($1750 subsidy). For most houses, the work does not exceed $2500 so the homeowner's expense does not exceed $750.

The result is a more comfortable home, lower heating and cooling bills, and less CO2 emissions contributing to global warming.

The August 26th deadline is not far away. People who call now for an assessment are getting appointments in June. Once the assessment is done, the homeowner makes the decision whether to go ahead with the work, signs an agreement, schedules the work, and gets it done. Most often it is a one-day job, usually focused on air sealing in the basement and insulation in the attic. All of this must be complete by August 26th to qualify for the subsidy. (The program calls it a “rebate” – but it is paid directly to the contractor and the homeowner never has to put out more than his/her 30% share.)

Interested people in Oak Park and River Forest can call: Pamela Brookstein at (708) 252-0623.  (Get your energy assessment free by hosting a "house party" - see what this is all about in this video.)

Others in the six-county area can call EI2 at 1-855-9-IMPACT.


Oak Parker Uses EI2 to Improve Energy Efficiency of Rental Property


Submitted by Doug Burke Energy Impact Illinois (EI2) is a program set up with stimulus money to promote home weatherization and improve energy efficiency.  EI2 certifies contractors, coordinates energy assessments and provides rebates on certain home energy efficiency improvements.  In my case, my wife and I own a two-flat in Logan Square that we thought was pretty inefficient.  Our monthly bill from People's Gas under the budget plan has been $181.  We called one of the EI2 certfied contractors, Green Energy Improvements, and they did an energy assessment at a charge of $99.   They recommended improvements estimated at a cost of $6824 that would save about 25% of the gas cost.  (It also saves electricity for ac in the summer, but our tenants pay that so I don't have the numbers.)

Here's how it worked out.  Right now EI2 will provide a rebate that, combined with existing rebates – in our case, from People's Gas – will pay 70% of the job, up to a limit of 70% of $2500, or a $1750 rebate.  Our job was much bigger than most; 70% of $2500 is only about 25% of the whole $6824 job – but it was still a big help.  For a single-family house, the whole job might not exceed $2500, so that the homeowner would be paying only $750.

So at this point, with the $6824 total cost, we were looking at:

$6824 – 1750 – 99 (the assessment charge is credited to the job) = $4975. 

Not having $4975 on hand, we opted for a loan, facilitated through EI2 and provided by Green Choice Bank.  We needed to put down 10% and borrowed the other 90% in a seven-year loan.  The interest rate is not that low – 8% – but yet another subsidy pays the interest for year one of the seven-year loan. 

The work was done in one short session on August 23rd to construct a hatch so they could insulate between the second floor and the flat roof, and one long day on September 6th.  They did a blower door test before and after the job, and now estimate that we should save about 1/3 on our gas bill.  That would be $60 per month, or more than the payments during the first (subsidized) year of the loan.  After that, if gas prices remain the same, the payments would be just a little bigger than the projected savings.  Plus we will have happier tenants since they will save money also.

We expect to get a certificate issued through EI2 that our building is officially green.  To get that, you have to get at least a 15% reduction in energy use.  The Multiple Listing Service, which realtors use, now officially recognizes this certificate. How much should this add to the value of the building?  Here are two different estimates.

1.  Bonnie Marx at Green Energy Improvements said there was evidence that for every dollar of energy savings per year, the value of the building goes up $20. On this basis, for gas alone, the increase would be $60 x 12 x 20 = $14,400. Then add electricity to that and the total increase would probably be in the range of $20,000 or a little more.

2.  A California study claimed that green houses get a premium of 9%, which would probably be more than $30,000.  But then that's California – people probably pay more attention to green stuff there.

If you are interested in doing similar work, you can get the names of contractors from EI2.  The whole thing flows smoothly: the rebate and the loan flow directly to the contractor, with little paperwork on our part for the subsidies, and very little for the loan.  And again, if you get in while the 70% subsidy is available and your job isn't too big, you may not need any loan.  My wife and I are so pleased with the work on our rental propertywe are now preparing to participate in EI2 a second time, at our house in Oak Park.

For more information about Energy Impact Illinois, or to get started, call Pamela Brookstein at 708-252-0623 or email

See also related article and video:  Energy Impact Illinois:  "This Rebate Program Rocks!"