Planning agency offers rebates on energy-saving improvements

By Kelly White

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning was at the Palos Hills City Council’s meeting last week to promote a program it claims can help save consumers money on their energy bills.

The agency’s Energy Impact Illinois program is offering homeowners and business owners 70 percent saving, up to $1,750, off air sealing and insulation, Energy Impact field organizer Megan Visk told the City Council.

Energy Impact is a partnership with several entities energy providers including ComEd, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas, Peoples Gas, and The Northern Illinois Energy Project. The program’s goal is to align all of the energy efficiency programs serving the Chicago area into one easily recognizable place, Visk explained. The program is made possible with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Department of Energy’s “Better Building” program.

“We will connect you with an energy efficiency contractor that meets our high standards,” Visk said. “The contractor will then inspect your home and provide an estimate for air sealing and insulation, along with other improvements that may be useful. We will handle all of the paperwork and ensure work is completed correctly and safely.”

The cost of upgrades varies based on the home, but the average cost for air sealing and insulation before rebates is approximately $2,500, Visk said.

“Energy Impact Illinois is an alliance for all of us,” she added. “You, me, your neighbor, your local business owner. It’s about individual actions that can generate both cost savings and provide big, collective results. That’s our goal. To demonstrate that each of us has the power to reduce our energy consumption to make our homes, neighborhoods, our city and the world a better place.”

Homeowners or businesses that receive service from Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas and ComEd are likely eligible, Visk said. The property owner must own a single-family home or two- to four-unit building in order to be eligible.

Energy Impact Illinois also provides loans to qualifying property owners. Loans can help eliminate the up-front costs for home improvements and allow a person to repay the debt at zero-percent interest for 12 months and 8 percent for the remainder of the loan period.