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The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is offering financial incentives to facilitate implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency improvements for new construction or major renovation projects undertaken by public sector customers in ComEd and Ameren Illinois Utilities service territories. Energy efficiency incentives for the private sector are available to customers of ComEd (electric) through the Smart Ideas program, Ameren Illinois (gas and electric) through the Act On Energy program, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas, or Peoples Gas.

This program provides grants to public sector entities to encourage applicants to design new or rehabbed buildings that achieve the greatest level of energy efficiency. The program offers two means of getting incentives Prescriptive and Custom Incentives.

Custom Incentives are available up to $0.08/kWh and $2.00/therm for facility design improvements beyond code that reduce electrical consumption in buildings greater than 15,000 square feet. Please note: Energy modeling and/or supporting calculations must document estimated savings and measures implemented.

Prescriptive incentives are available for projects on a measure by measure basis.

SEDAC (on behalf of DCEO) reviews new construction projects for incentive eligibility and program compliance.


The program is targeted to Public Sector customers in ComEd and Ameren Illinois Utilities service territory, including units of local government, K-12 school districts, community colleges, public universities and state buildings. Projects must be new construction or major renovation. To be eligible, renovations must involve a change in occupancy classification or affect at least two or more of these three systems: building envelope, HVAC systems, or lighting systems. Eligibility is limited to new construction projects or additions and renovations that exceed 15,000 square feet that produce electrical and or natural gas savings through efficiency improvements in buildings, equipment, or process. For more eligibility information, refer to the Illinois Energy Now - Public Sector New Construction Program Application and Guidelines 2013-14.


On behalf of DCEO, SEDAC reviews New Construction projects for incentive eligibility and program compliance. The next best steps depend on where you are in the design process.

Project Planning and Concept Phase: We are ready to help! Contact the SEDAC New Construction Design Assistance team as early in the design process as possible if you have questions regarding eligibility, how to apply, or specific energy efficiency design strategies or technologies. The team can offer analysis and technical assistance that can enable you to achieve higher performance and reduce operating costs for the owner and/or tenant.

Construction Documents Completed: Once project contract documents (drawings and specifications) are complete, the owner or representative must submit the following documents for review. The required documentation may include, but is not limited to application, project drawings, specifications, and energy modeling input/output, which verify the designed beyond-code energy savings. The applicant must provide program staff with requested information necessary to verify potential savings.


Two methods of calculating incentives are now available; Prescriptive and Custom. The client may choose either method to calculate incentives.

The Prescriptive Incentives are based on specific measures, which exceed code. The building as a whole must still meet the overall minimal code requirements and funding is available for specific areas which exceed code.

The Custom Incentives will be set based on how far beyond the Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial Buildings (IL ECC) that the whole building or the building components will be constructed. The Base Incentive rate for the New Construction Program will be $0.08 per kWh saved and $1.00 per therm saved. This is to encourage applicants to design the building to achieve the greatest level of energy efficiency.

DCEO reserves the right to negotiate different incentive levels if the applicant is under rules that already require beyond code achievement.

Maximum Incentive.  DCEO may provide up to, but not more than, a maximum incentive of $300,000. A single award may exceed $300,000 if the application includes multiple project locations. 



All new buildings built in the State of Illinois are required to meet the minimum standards of the current Illinois Energy Conservation Code (III ECC). All incentives are based on designs which exceed the requirements of this code. The current version of the III ECC is III ECC 2009, which references the following codes to meet compliance:

  • International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2009
  • ASHRAE 90.1-2007

III ECC 2012 is expected to be adopted by the state of Illinois on January 1, 2013. This revised code will reference the following for compliance:

  • IECC 2012
  • ASHRAE 90.1-2010

While these codes are the required minimum by which buildings can be built, SEDAC recommends the use of additional standards by which higher efficiency goals can be met.

  • ASHRAE 189.1-2011, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings.
  • ASHRAE 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDG) are available which propose means of achieving 50% savings from 90.1-2004.
    • Small to medium office buildings
    • K-12 school buildings
    • Medium to big box retail buildings
    • Large hospitals

EPAct tax deductions are available for buildings which exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 by 50%. By using the ASHRAE AEDG's, achieving these deductions becomes readily achievable.


Application and Guidelines

What Is Needed To Apply

  • Completed Application (Appendix A through F)
  • 100% Construction Documents including architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing drawings
  • Project Manual and/or Specifications
  • Building Energy model, including all inputs and outputs. For Custom Incentives only. (see section 1.3)
    • Baseline Building energy model must meet ASHRAE Appendix G. For Custom Incentives only.
    • Proposed Building energy model must match construction documents except as noted in ASHRAE Appendix G. For Custom Incentives only.
  • Completed Project Energy Summary (Appendix F). For Custom Incentives only.
  • Estimated construction costs - Baseline Building
  • Estimated construction costs - Proposed Building
  • Square Footage of building
  • Copy of utility bill or application for utility
  • If LEED, provide EA Credit 1, Optimize Energy Performance template or equivalent
New Construction tips

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To learn more contact us at 1-800-214-7954 or contact one of our new construction specialists: