Supporting Healthy Communities in Woodlawn
Monica Chadha, LEED certified architect and founder of Civic Projects LLC, worked with Elevate Energy to reduce the cost of maintaining her three-story building in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, as well as improve the building’s safety.
In 2013, Chadha contacted Elevate Energy to perform an energy assessment on her building to identify measures to decrease her building’s energy use. Expert energy analysts from Elevate Energy inspected the building and provided recommendations for cost-effective improvements to reduce utility bills and property maintenance costs, and connected Chadha with qualified contractors to complete the improvements. Chadha reviewed bids from these contractors and decided to move forward with the recommended measures.
Elevate Energy helped Chadha apply for a low-cost loan from Community Investment Corporation which allowed her to complete the improvements. In early 2016, Chadha’s gas bills for heating the building were escalating each month, culminating at $10,000 for the month of January, roughly ten times the typical bill for a building this size. She was told by her gas provider that no trucks were available to inspect her meter, and to call back in a month. Chadha reached out to Elevate Energy again who acted as an advocate for her as she worked to decrease her energy use and costs, beginning with convincing the gas company to fix the meter.
Elevate Energy again inspected the building and found numerous concerns, including an extraordinarily high reading of 2000 parts per million of carbon monoxide in the exhaust gases of the boiler, which had been worked on by a contractor Chadha had contacted. After a series of site visits, Elevate’s construction team identified multiple issues with the installation of the boiler and brought in an Elevate-approved contractor to make these corrections. Elevate’s team identified Chadha’s actual consumption and demonstrated to the gas company that her usage was not in line with the bills. Between 2013 and 2016, Elevate Energy staff returned to the building site over 10 times to ensure that the improvements were completed correctly and that Chadha was informed at each step of the retrofit process.
The improvements to the building are expected to save Chadha 40% percent annually on natural gas costs. Chadha’s building is now more stable and viable, which serves as a beacon of quality, affordable housing in a neighborhood traditionally plagued with disinvestment. Healthy buildings contribute to healthy communities.
“Elevate went well above and beyond any support that we could have anticipated and are confident that our building is now operating efficiently.” Monica Chadha
- Identified and ensured follow-through on carbon monoxide life safety issues with boiler
- Facilitated replacement of faulty gas meter which drastically reduced bills
- Projected annual natural gas cost savings as percent: 40%
- Projected annual natural gas savings as dollars saved: $3,333
- Boiler efficiency: 53% less gas consumed post clean/tune
- Building address: 1448 E 67th Pl
- Year of construction (approximate): 1912
- Measure: roof cavity air sealing and insulation
- Measure: domestic hot water heater replacement
- Measure: steam boiler replacement
- Measure: steam pipe insulation
- Type of financing: low-cost loan from Community Investment Corporation used to finance improvements
- Amount of financing provided: $25,000
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