In 2007, legislation that amended the Illinois Public Utilities Act required that the State’s largest utility providers and the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) develop a portfolio of electric energy efficiency programs to meet defined legislative goals that reduces energy demand. The program is funded by Illinois rate-payers as part of the Illinois Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS).
Illinois Energy Now is an energy efficiency program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) that provides millions of dollars each year to help public entities reduce their energy costs by improving the efficiency of their facilities. The program also funds a range of free services to public building owners including: building energy assessments and tune-ups, technical and application assistance, and training and education.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) publishes an annual scorecard on state energy efficiency policies. Illinois is a national leader in energy efficiency, finishing 11th overall in 2014 and in the top twelve in each of the last three years.
Illinois Energy Now has enabled public and low-income building owners to achieve significant energy savings, thus allowing participants to improve their bottom line, enhance operational efficiency and achieve sustainability goals. Since 2008, the program has helped facility owners save 477.8 million kWh and 9.0 million therms.
By reducing energy in individual buildings, the program has also reduced the state’s energy footprint, thereby improving air quality and improving energy reliability by reducing the demand from power plants. The program also helped the state in becoming a leader on energy efficiency. Today, Illinois leads the nation in LEED green building design and in 2013 the state made the Ameren Council for Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) Top 10 list of the most energy efficient states in the nation making a significant leap from its 26th in the national standing in 2006.
By helping public building owners save energy, Illinois Energy Now has helped building owners save hundreds of millions of dollars in energy. To date, the program has saved participants over $50 million annually in energy, with total economic savings expected to reach a billion dollars within 10 years!
Illinois Energy Now has been important for creating and sustaining clean energy jobs in the state. The program has created both direct jobs related to the administration and implementation of programming, as well as thousands of indirect jobs tied to the sale, manufacture, installation and design from the implementation of energy efficiency products and services. According to a University of Illinois study, it is estimated that the Illinois Energy Now program has created or sustained an estimated 16,233 jobs throughout Illinois, based on program spending to date of $244 million. In the last year alone, it’s estimated the program it has created or sustained 4,507 jobs.
At the core of DCEO and SEDAC’s success is its public-private partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), 360 Energy Group, and a team of Illinois private sector energy experts. The University brings a reputation as a trusted source of technical information to assure clients that their own interests are central. It trains students and staff to be skilled energy professionals and experts in energy efficiency design through staff training, internship programs, and offers university and professional development courses. 360 Energy Group is a leading Illinois energy efficiency consulting firm that specializes in administrating energy efficiency programs.
SEDAC services are performed both in-house (by University and other staff) and by approved Design Assistance Experts (DAE). SEDAC DAEs are professional engineers and architects that have been pre-approved to provide energy assistance expertise to SEDAC clients. Today, over 144 individuals from 58 engineering and architectural companies are approved as SEDAC Design Assistance and RCx Service Providers.
IEN supports the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Lights for Learning (L4L) program. L4L is a free K-12 energy efficiency education program that provides hands-on presentations and optional fundraising opportunities to Illinois students. L4L advances students’ awareness of energy efficiency and inspires students to take action. Students raise money for their school through the sale of energy-efficient products including ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs and LEDs. By promoting energy-efficient products and practices in their neighborhoods and during dinner-table conversation at home, students become community energy efficiency ambassadors.
Between 2006 and 2013, DCEO & MEEA saved an estimated $835,000 in residential energy bills while presenting to over 100,000 Illinois students.
The Lights for Learning program is administered and delivered by a total of 14 professionals (including program managers, education specialists, teachers, IT specialists and designers) and together accounts for two full time (FTE) Illinois positions.
In total from 2005-2014, Lights for Learning has engaged 130,336 K-12 students from 1,125 schools through 1,726 presentations. Lights for Learning conducted 1,100 fund-raisers which sold 190,409 energy efficient products (including CFLs, LEDs, and more), saving an estimated 7,973 annual MWh (66,520 lifetime MWh). In total, participating students have raised $284,932 and counting for Illinois schools!
Illinois Home Performance plays an important role in supporting the high-quality Illinois home performance workforce through a number of valuable services, such as a free equipment loan program, building science trainings, training rebates, lead generation, and marketing assistance.
IEN supports the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® (IHP) to help Illinois home and property owners decrease their energy costs and increase the comfort, safety, durability, and value of their homes. Homeowners achieve these benefits by working with qualified contractors to take a “whole-home” approach to energy upgrades. Since 2010, thousands of Illinois homeowners have reduced their energy use by 15% or more by completing home energy upgrades through IHP. The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance acts as a Statewide Coordinator to the Illinois Home Performance with Energy Star Program.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Building Operator Certification (BOC®) program in Illinois, which is facilitated in ten states by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. The BOC achieves measurable energy savings by training individuals directly responsible for day-to-day building operations. BOC is a competency-based training and certification program that provides energy-saving operational strategies for maintenance and operations staff and technicians. BOC graduates use the tools learned in training to help their facilities save energy, reduce costs and improve the efficiency of their building systems. Building operators using the energy-efficient procedures and tools learned in BOC training can cut electricity use by 15% or more.
MEEA utilizes 10 Illinois-based instructors and 6 Illinois-based coordinators. With 69 days of instruction in FY15 at 8 hours per instructor, 8 hours per coordinator, there is a total of 1104 hours of instruction/coordination which is equivalent to 0.53 FTE. The BOC Illinois program is facilitated by three MEEA staff members, which together accounts for 1.14 full time positions in Illinois.
BOC training has saved large Illinois facilities $30.5 million in energy.
The City of Chicago recognizes BOC graduates as being able to provide benchmarking and data verification services in accordance with the City Energy Benchmarking Ordinance – in 2014, 6 BOC graduates assisted 18 facilities over 250,000SF with compliance.
The Energy Resource Center (ERC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago manages the Illinois Energy Now Trade Ally Program. The Trade Ally Program benefits both contractors and public sector clients by establishing partnerships that result in both increased energy efficiency and reduced operating costs. Trade Allies include mechanical and lighting contractors, engineers, architects, energy service companies, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. The DCEO Trade Allies are experts in providing customized energy efficient solutions to clients in the public sector. Their understanding of the rules, regulations, and application process of the DCEO programs plays a key role in helping clients to navigate the system and ensure maximum incentives.
Trade allies / contractors are involved with implementing all Illinois Energy Now programs. Currently, there are 450 Trade Allies who work with public sector clients to identify, apply for and implement energy efficiency projects. Trade Allies use the Illinois Energy Now incentives to help their clients buy down the capital cost of implementation to create truly cost effective energy efficiency retrofits and designs.
The Energy Resource Center (ERC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago manages Illinois Energy Now’s Boiler System Efficiency Program. The Boiler System program provides technical assistance to public building owners implementing energy efficient improvements to boilers. This program targets boiler tune-ups, mechanical pipe insulation, steam trap assessments, steam trap repair/replacement, boiler reset controls, shut off air damper systems, and parallel positioning controls (PPC) systems.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP) Program. STEP offers free, cost effective, easy-to-install energy efficiency measures to qualifying Illinois public facilities. The focus is to bring hard-to-reach facilities that had not received incentives into DCEO’s Illinois Energy Now program pipeline, empowering these facilities to take the next steps towards whole building efficiency. Some of the free, easy-to-install energy efficiency measures include: LED exit signs, CFLs, outdoor LEDs, low-flow shower heads, green nozzles and vending misers.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Illinois Public Housing Authority Efficient Living Energy Program (ILPHA), which provides essential grants to Illinois Public Housing Authorities (PHA) to upgrade their facilities and include energy efficient practices in their buildings. In addition to grants, the ILPHA Energy Program provides technical assistance and education for PHA facility managers and staff on building efficiency and effective energy management. The program is managed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Building Industry Training & Energy Codes Education program (BITE). The BITE program trains and educates our municipal code officials, local HVAC contractors and homebuilders, architects and engineers who construct, refurbish, and build quality and comfort into the buildings, shopping centers and homes in which we live, sleep, eat, work, play, and pray. Support from Illinois Energy Now leads to improved products and sustainable, energy-efficient construction practices, creating more jobs for a lot of builders, installing contractors, and manufacturers. The field and classroom trainings boost home quality and put thousands of dollars in lower utility bills back into the wallets of homeowners and constituents who vote and spend that money saved in the local economy.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Energy Performance Contracting Program, which provides assistance to the public and non-profit sectors in the state in setting up performance contracting to implement energy efficiency projects. Assistance provided can include review of project scope, RFQ development, managing the bidding process and contract review. The Program has assisted various public sector participants over the past twelve years and has developed sample documents that reduce or eliminate the need to "recreate the wheel" in developing successful energy performance projects.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program. The Program provides technical and application assistance to help public-sector participants implement energy-saving projects. Assistance is provided through site visits, energy savings calculations, project planning and verification, and direct administration of Illinois Energy Now incentives. The program also works with public agencies in leveraging private sources of funding, such as the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation, to help municipalities maximize energy savings.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Illinois Association of County Board Members Technical and Application Assistance Program. The Program provides technical and application assistance to help public-sector participants implement energy-saving projects, as well as provides education, outreach and marketing.
Illinois Energy Now supports the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association’s Appliance Rebate Program, as part of its Low-Income Residential Retrofit Energy Efficiency Program. The program provides homeowners with new, ENERGY STAR® rated appliances to replace their older, inefficient units. The program is available to income eligible bungalow owners who are ComEd customers.