We began this year by celebrating a milestone – 10,000 apartment units retrofitted with energy efficiency improvements. As the end of the year approaches, we’re nearing 18,000 units improved, and we’ve made great strides in other areas as well. We’re taking a moment to share our 2013 accomplishments with our friends, funders, clients, colleagues, and partners, without whom these accomplishments would not be possible.
We wish you a safe, happy, and energy efficient 2014! We’ve got changes planned for next year.
More than 17,000 Apartments Upgraded with Energy Efficiency Improvements
Along with our partner, Community Investment Corporation, we’ve helped hundreds of multifamily building owners improve their buildings and increase net operating income by reducing costs. As of this month, we’ve retrofitted more than 17,000 units, saving over 4 million gas therms and 10 million kWh, and creating 500 local jobs. We launched a new Energy Savers small multifamily program for owners of buildings with two to four units, and offered building assessment, financial guidance, and construction oversight to nonprofit buildings and houses of worship.
Building owners who implement all of our recommended energy efficiency measures through the Energy Savers program commonly see a 30 percent savings on natural gas use, post-retrofit. But don’t just take it from us. Hear what a building owner has to say about his experience and watch an energy assessment in action.
Energy Savers Program Continues to Expand
In light of local success with Energy Savers, CNT Energy knows there is an opportunity and need for a similar model outside of Illinois. This year, working with our partner New Ecology, Inc. out of Boston, we continued our expansion work to establish multifamily energy efficiency programs in new markets, including Connecticut, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, PA.
Energy Efficiency Gets Neighborly. And Has Impact.
We completed 3,600 single family retrofits via Energy Impact Illinois, an alliance to help Illinois residents lower their energy costs. This is nearly double our original goal! We focused on an intensive community-based outreach campaign and hosted nearly 700 house parties, in which friends and neighbors gathered to learn about energy efficiency in the comfort of their own homes. As we wrap up the rebate portion of the program, we continue to engage homeowners and contractors with a focus on energy efficiency.
Hourly Electricity Pricing Programs Saves Money for Homeowners (and Electric Vehicle Owners)
We continue to help people save money on utility bills with our hourly pricing programs. In 2013, more than 10,000 households participated in the ComEd Residential Real-Time Pricing program and saved an average of 29 percent on electric supply costs compared with what they would have paid on the standard ComEd fixed-price rate. For the Ameren Illinois Power Smart Pricing program, more than 13,000 households participated and saved an average of 15 percent on electric supply costs compared with the Ameren Illinois flat rate. These hourly pricing programs have saved participants a combined total of $22 million since launching in 2007.
We also show other consumer groups the economic benefits of hourly pricing, including electric vehicle owners who charge their cars at home. By plugging in vehicles during off-peak times, electric vehicle owners pay lower prices and reduce the overall cost of car ownership.
Working with our Partners for Measurable Results
Our research and policy teams were productive this year, completing 13 reports.
We shared an evaluation of our multifamily Energy Savers program, one of several reports we have done for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America initiative as part of the Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit team. Our work was also published in a report from the Urban Institute on developing choice neighborhoods. In addition, we presented at several industry events across the country.
We continued our work with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on how utilities and apartment building owners can work together to develop effective energy efficiency policies, culminating in a Webinar on how utilities can design programs that work.
We’re also proud of our policy efforts. In August, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed on-bill financing into law, which provides building owners a financing option for investing in energy efficiency. In addition, we’re working to support implementation of the recently passed ordinance requiring energy benchmarking of large buildings in Chicago, drawing on our significant program expertise and experience in documenting the energy use of 33 municipal buildings for Cook County.
Unlocking the Value of an Energy Efficient Home
This year, we continued to engage with unique partners in new markets, including real estate. In partnership with the City of Chicago and Midwest Real Estate Data, we helped modernize a 25-year-old ordinance requiring the disclosure of heating bills when residential properties are sold or leased in the city. Finally, we published a paper with the National Home Performance Council that shows how proper documentation, verification, and standardization of energy efficiency improvements can add value to a home that owners can recoup at sale.
We look forward to building on all of these accomplishments and expanding our impact during the coming year. Stay tuned for some big developments coming in the months ahead.