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Energy Efficiency Improves Family Legacy Building 

woman standing in front of multifamily building

Marcia Ellis has owned her six-unit property in Chicago’s New City neighborhood since 2018, but her history with the building goes back to 1984, when her parents bought the building. For decades Ellis’s family lived in the building, including her parents, her siblings and their families, and her own children.

When the building ownership was transferred to Ellis from her father, she took on the responsibility to care for and maintain the property for its mixed-income tenant community.

“I had to learn how to strip walls, plaster walls, to sand, to paint,” said Ellis. “It was a lot of work but I was really encouraged.”

Ellis began working with Community Investment Corporation to secure a loan for building improvements and was connected with Elevate Energy to receive a free energy assessment of the building. The assessment revealed opportunities for energy efficiency improvements in the building, including lighting retrofits, roof insulation, pipe insulation, and a new high-efficiency boiler.

The old boiler in the building was inefficient, very old, and unlikely to have survived another heating season. The addition of controls allows it to operate at maximum efficiency.

“When they put the boiler in I could really tell the difference,” said Ellis. “Things were staying a little bit warmer, and I could actually see on my thermostat that the heat was maintaining a certain level. I haven’t had any complaints. My tenants have been really pleased.”

Project Summary

  • Savings: $2,380 estimated annual savings

Building Overview

  • Building owner: Marcia Ellis
  • Building type: Six-unit multifamily building
  • Year of construction: 1924
  • Heating system: Central steam boiler
  • Neighborhood: New City
  • Savings: $2,380 estimated annual savings

Upgrades Completed

  • New high-efficiency steam boiler
  • LED lighting
  • Bathroom and kitchen aerators
  • Pipe insulation
  • Roof cavity air sealing and insulation


  • $44,697 in incentives from ComEd and Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency Programs

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