Recommended Resources

General Resources:

Benchmarking Resources:

Energy Assessment Resources:

  • The Smart Energy Design Assistance Center provides a range of free energy efficiency services to public, private, and nonprofit buildings in Illinois.
  • Utility companies offer free assessments for small businesses and low-cost assessments for homeowners. See utility company links in the Funding for Energy Efficiency Resources section
  • The Illinois Public Housing Authority Efficient Living Energy Efficiency Program offers free assessments and rebates for public housing authorities.
  • Companies around the state offer energy assessments and energy management services. Search the list of Trade Allies associated with your utility company, or visit the Illinois Energy Now Trade Ally directory.
  • The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) has a directory of home energy efficiency professionals.

Performance Contracting:

DCEO Illinois Energy Now offers free guidance to public entities considering energy performance contracting.

Sources of Recognition:

  • US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (USGBC LEED) provides certification of sustainable design for new construction, existing buildings, and even neighborhood development.
  • ENERGY STAR Certification is an award for buildings that are performing in the top 25% of similar buildings in the nation for energy usage.
  • International Standards Organizations (ISO) 14000 is a series of guides for environmental management. Organizations can be certified to these standards by a certifying agency.
  • US Environmental Protection Agency Climate Showcase Communities Program provides assistance and recognition for greenhouse gas reduction projects.
  • The Illinois Green Business Association offers certification of sustainable operation to both public and private organizations.


More Resources

Funding for Energy Efficiency:

  • A 2007 Illinois bill created the Illinois Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS), which created a substantial budget for programs and incentives to reduce electrical energy usage and demand for customers of investor-owned electric utilities (ComEd and Ameren Illinois). The investor-owned gas utilities (Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas, and Peoples Gas) were added to the program in 2011. SEDAC maintains a website listing funding and assistance opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Illinois. For the most up-to-date information, visit
  • Illinois Energy Now administers funding to public agencies.
  • Utility companies offer energy efficiency rebates to private, nonprofit, and residential customers.
  • Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy
  • ComEd Smart Ideas
  • Nicor Gas energySMART
  • North Shore Gas Energy Efficiency Program
  • Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency Program
    Customers of utility delivery companies other than the investor-owned utilities above may contact their utility provider to find out if incentives are available.

Other Funding Resources:

Communications Strategies for Energy Efficiency:

Communicate Success:

Whether hosting your first meeting about an energy efficiency plan or implementing energy efficiency strategies after the completion of the planning process, effective communication is key! Use the following strategies as you prepare to spread the word:

  • Plan your communications strategy
    Determine objectives, define intended audience, identify challenges and barriers to communication, establish appropriate times to engage, develop and test key messages and frames, consider and select creative outreach approaches, identify effective channels of communication and messengers, and use trusted sources
  • Identify desired behaviors and remove barriers
    “Increasing awareness” does not lead to change.
  • Make it real
    Connect the notion of abstract savings to everyday activities.
  • Understand your audience
    Opinions about energy efficiency range from enthusiastic to disengaged to dismissive. Different messages are appropriate for each group
  • Simplify
    Use simple messages repeated often by a variety of trusted sources.
  • Make it visual
    Most people are able to connect to visual imagery more than numbers and statistics.
  • Use narratives
    People are more likely to engage with an issue if they can identify with the story.
  • Normalize energy efficiency
    Peer pressure is an effective tool for behavior change.
  • Emphasize multiple benefits
    Energy efficiency can have a positive impact on health, community, and the economy.