Group Photo of Elevate Energy Staff

About Elevate Energy

Our History

Elevate Energy was formed in 2000 by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). We got our start organizing neighborhood-specific responses to address brownouts affecting the Chicago area. From there we invented the concept of hourly electricity pricing programs for residential customers, piloted a program to prove it would work, and then helped pass a law to make it available to everyone in Illinois. From these early successes, we saw that pairing relevant technical solutions and education could improve energy efficiency in a major way, creating benefits for everyone. Next, we partnered with the affordable housing community to use energy efficiency retrofits in apartment buildings as a tool to preserve vital housing stock for working families.

Today we’ve branched out with new programs, but we hold close to our roots. We continue to administer the state’s two residential hourly electric pricing programs that we helped create, and we are working with utilities to develop another innovative rate option—peak time rebate. We upgrade a myriad of building types—from single family homes and smaller apartment buildings to houses of worship and daycare centers—with quality efficiency retrofits with our partner Community Investment Corporation.

Additionally, we now work at the community level to bring efficiency to scale. We administer Energy Impact Illinois, a regional initiative of utilities, government entities, and nonprofit organizations working to create a self-sustaining efficiency marketplace. We partner with contractors to ensure their construction work maximizes energy efficiency gains. We are helping the City of Chicago implement its energy benchmarking ordinance, and we’re working with the real estate community to appropriately value energy efficiency upgrades at the point of home sale/purchase.

Since 2000, we’ve grown, moved, and changed our name, but we are still closely affiliated with CNT, a leader in promoting urban sustainability and the more effective use of existing resources and community assets. We’re currently working together to incorporate water conservation and flood prevention measures into our building retrofit programs.

In recent years, we’ve increasingly turned our attention to renewable energy to make sure the benefits of renewables are accessible to renters and low-income households. Alongside other partners, we’re helping Cook County to manage a federally funded effort to ensure that everyone will have the opportunity to directly participate in and benefit from the growth of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation through community solar installations.

For updates, please visit our blog or click here to download or print a brochure about Elevate Energy. Or listen to our team tell our story:

Our Mission: Help people do more with less energy.

We design and implement efficiency programs that lower costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of energy efficiency reach those who need them most. This “triple bottom line” approach—and the holistic solutions that result—makes us unique.

Walking the Walk

We’re all about smarter energy use for all, including ourselves.

  • Our first office was a 1920’s weaving factory, which we renovated to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum status in 2005, making it the second building in Chicago to achieve this level of designation. Our affiliate CNT still resides there.
  • Our second office space had a large paved lot that we tore up to create a rain garden that reduced runoff and created an oasis alongside our busy, gritty street.
  • At our current home in Chicago’s West Loop, we improved our space to achieve LEED Certification at the Gold Level.
  • We’ve won the citywide Bike to Work Week Challenge for 11 years in a row.
  • We recycle our paper, plastic, and glass, sure, but we even recycle our food scraps—which are extra tasty to our vermicomposting worms.
  • We were a top-10 finisher in the 2013 Chicago Green Office Challenge.

Our Annual Report

We’re happy to announce our 2016 annual report, which presents a snapshot of our recent efforts to promote smarter energy use for all. Thank you to all of the partners and supporters who helped make these accomplishments possible. We look forward to continuing to work together to bring the benefits of energy efficiency to even more communities in the years to come.

Click here to access our 2015 annual report.