Latest Posts

  1. Iowa City Charts a Path Forward with its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

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    Iowa City Climate Action PlanIowa City is turning the threats posed by global climate change into an opportunity. With the adoption of the Iowa City Climate Action and Adaption Plan, the City will build an economy and community to sustain its residents and the environment long into the future. So says Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton in the Plan, which aims to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.

    To achieve this goal, Elevate Energy, in partnership with the City of Iowa City, Inova Energy Group, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, helped Iowa City establish a series of 35 actions to reduce emissions in categories including buildings, transportation, waste, sustainable lifestyle, and an adaptation category to address the already changing climate. The emissions goals were adopted after national and international organizations concluded that an 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 is necessary to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. In order to reach these goals, it is vitally important that communities chart their own path forward with local plans customized to address their people, building stock, transportation networks, and other elements that make them unique.

    Iowa City Climate Action PlanThe adoption of Iowa City’s Plan in September 2018 represents a movement that we’re seeing in other municipalities and cities across the U.S. and is another positive example of how cities are stepping up to do their part to combat climate change. “The tide is changing in many communities,” said Lindy Wordlaw, Senior Manager of Public Sector Programs at Elevate Energy. “Today, it’s less about having to convince people that climate change is happening and more about understanding how and where we use energy to enact the right actions and programs that result in the greatest possible impact.”

    “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Lindy. “Climate planning doesn’t happen by itself, it’s looking comprehensively at a City and knowing your baseline to most effectively meet reduction goals.”

    For other municipalities (as well as counties, regions, and states) interested in taking steps to reduce emissions, the best place to start is understanding how and where your emissions originate—most likely in energy consumption and transportation. Establishing this baseline and using metrics to guide a strategy also helps cities track progress toward goals.

    “Start with an emissions profile to understand what your biggest impact is. For example, a city-wide recycling program is good, but it might have a relatively small impact on your community’s emissions,” said Lindy. “Achieving emissions goals will absolutely require pushing forward with strategies that have highest impacts on emissions.”

    Iowa City Climate Action PlanThe adoption of Iowa City’s Plan was a true community effort. The City formed a steering committee, comprised of a diverse mix of residents and key stakeholders that will continue to manage ongoing implementation of the Plan. As part of the process, the City also hosted two community meetings to give residents a voice in the Plan’s recommendations.

    Notably, Iowa City’s Plan includes clear recommendations to alleviate the inequities of climate change that will adversely affect some populations, such as the ability for cost-burdened households to respond quickly to emergency events like floods.

    At Elevate Energy, we were honored to help Iowa City develop its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and we look forward to the Plan’s implementation through new partnership building, policy changes, education and awareness, lifestyle changes, and new programs.

    Please join us in congratulating Iowa City for their leadership on climate action. Are you interested in learning more about what your community can do? Since 2004, Elevate Energy has integrated sustainability and energy planning with traditional planning processes with over 200 municipalities, several counties, regional areas and two states. Learn more about our energy planning and get in touch with us at 773-269-4037 or .

  2. Why We’re Excited about the Illinois Solar for All Program

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    Illinois Solar for AllThe groundbreaking Illinois Solar for All Program, created under the Future Energy Jobs Act, will promote equitable access to the solar economy, including the jobs it creates, in both urban and rural communities across our state.

    Notably, the forward-looking program will provide incentives for solar development in low-income and environmental justice communities, offering households and the organizations that serve them measurable savings on their energy bills. This will include residential rooftop solar, community solar, as well as solar for nonprofits and public agencies that serve these communities. It’s the first program of its kind in our state; the budget for the program is $30 million per year.

    Elevate Energy is thrilled to announce that we’ve been selected to serve as the administrator for the Solar for All program. We’re particularly well-positioned to lead this important effort after engaging these communities with innovative energy efficiency, solar, and job training programs for nearly 20 years.

    “The Solar for All program is special in that it takes a market-based approach to most effectively connect the benefits of the clean energy economy with low-income and environmental justice communities,” said program manager Vito Greco. “The program addresses common barriers by incentivizing solar vendors to develop innovative projects and business models that pass on measurable savings to participants. It also ensures that installations include FEJA job training program graduates, provides resources for statewide grassroots education, and ensures program resources are focused on environmental justice communities.”

    Stay tuned! We expect to begin registering vendors early next year with a formal program launch in the spring of 2019. Participants will include single family households, multifamily residential properties as well as nonprofit and public buildings. In the meantime, there will be opportunities for stakeholders to engage with Elevate Energy and the Illinois Power Agency to ensure that we develop processes that meet the needs of those the program will serve. Please continue to follow the conversation at #FEJA and #FEJAinAction.

     

  3. Three Ways to Save Money and Reduce Energy Use this Fall and Winter

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    Fall Energy TipsFall temperatures are returning to Chicago. Whether you rejoice in the cooler weather or mourn the end of warm summer days, now is the right time to take stock of your energy usage ahead of the winter, either at your home, apartment, or buildings you own.

    Small Behavior Changes to Save Every Day

    There are several easy, no-cost behavior changes you can make to use less energy throughout the day. Here are a few ideas:

    Let the sun shine in. Opening blinds or curtains will help both illuminate and warm your home without the need to turn on artificial lights or turn up the thermostat. As fall approaches, daylight hours are typically long enough to light your space, even for most early risers. Close the curtains at night to keep the warmth in.

    Avoid heating your home more than necessary. Close vents and doors in unused rooms and lower your thermostat a few degrees while you are gone during the day to maintain a balance between comfort and savings. Programmable and smart thermostats can make this even easier to do.

    From Del Mar Fans and Lighting

    Listen to mom and bundle up! Turn your thermostat down at night and add an extra blanket to your bed to further reduce your energy consumption.

    Make regular and basic improvements a part of your routine, like replacing your furnace filter every 30-60 days for more savings. A clean and efficient furnace works less which means you’ll spend less. Another good habit is to check your ceiling fans and switch the direction to clockwise to force warm air down during the fall and winter.

    For more, see this post on five small changes to save energy for free 24/7.

    Get the Good Gadgets

    There are many energy and water efficiency gadgets to help you save even more on your energy bills. Here are a few easy-to-use and relatively affordable items that we like:

    Halloween is around the corner; have you checked your home for “energy vampires?” Energy vampires are appliances that draw energy or “phantom loads” when they are plugged in but not in use. Consider a smart power strip to combat vampire power.

    Reduce drafts around doors and windows with additional weather-stripping, window insulation kits, or draft stoppers.

    Decorating for the holidays? You’ll save more money this holiday season when you use LED holiday lights which last longer and are more reliable and energy efficient than older styles of holiday lights.

    Consider a smart thermostat that adjusts to your daily energy usage patterns and can be controlled remotely!

    For more, see this post on cool gadgets to take your savings to the next level and reach out to us to see if there are any available incentives to get some of these items for even less.

    Schedule a Home Energy Assessment

    While there are many small things you can do to save energy now, some measures will inevitably require more planning and upfrontFall Energy Tips investment. For example, whole-home or attic air sealing and insulation can reduce air leaks which can account for as much as 40% of a home’s energy loss. The easiest way to understand how your home is performing is to schedule an energy assessment, during which certified analysts use tools like blower doors and infrared cameras to measure energy loss and determine the most cost-effective measures for your home or building. The best way to get started is to reach out to our team at 855-372-8377, via email at , or complete this basic form.

    What if I rent?

    Live in an apartment? First, you’re in popular company – three out of four Chicagoans live in a multifamily building. If you’re not the owner of your building, feel free to pass our name on to your property manager or building owner. They may be eligible for utility program incentives to make improvements that reduce costs for everyone! Depending on where you live, we may also have programs to help you save; fill out this homeowners and renters form to see what’s available.

    This fall, why not commit to do your part to reduce energy use and create a more comfortable home? Whether you adopt new energy-saving behaviors, add new gadgets, or schedule a home energy assessment, we’re here to provide guidance every step of the way. Get in touch with us at 855-372-8377 or .

  4. A Partnership to Serve Oregon Multifamily Building Owners

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    Elevate Energy is headquartered in Chicago but our impact extends well beyond the state of Illinois. As part of our New Markets Initiative, we’re working across the country to accelerate the growth of innovative energy, water, health, and community programs. We currently have offices in Springfield, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; East Lansing, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; and, most recently, in Portland, Oregon.

    Portland Oregon Multifamily

    We’re excited to partner with New Ecology, Inc. and the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) to help affordable multifamily building owners in Oregon reduce operating costs through energy and water efficiency measures. It’s a unique partnership—as mission-driven organizations, New Ecology, Elevate Energy, and NOAH are committed to leveraging shared expertise to meet the needs of building owners and help preserve Oregon’s affordable multifamily housing stock. Collectively, our team has upgraded nearly 200,000 units, helping owners reduce operating costs and create healthier, more comfortable, and more resilient homes for tenants. Now that’s smarter energy use for all!

    Portland Oregon MultifamilyWe’re also excited to introduce James Donnelly, a Senior Project Manager at Elevate Energy. James has a background in architecture and building science paired with a keen desire to improve the performance and resiliency of buildings. He’s based in Portland and will be a key point of contact for anyone interested in a no-cost and customized consultation on our Oregon services. You can reach James at , download an Oregon partnership fact sheet, or fill out a form when you’re ready to start saving.

    No-Cost Predevelopment Services in Oregon (Because the Sooner, the Better)

    Right now, we’re offering Oregon developers a suite of predevelopment services at no cost to reduce energy use and improve the health, comfort, and resiliency of a single building or an entire portfolio. Thinking through energy and water efficiency measures at the earliest stages of project planning will maximize long-term benefits. Some of our predevelopment services include:

    • Energy and water assessments
    • Renewables or certification feasibility
    • Integrated design charrette facilitation

    Other Services to Reduce Operating Costs in Oregon

    Whether your project is in the process of refinancing, between refinance periods, or is new construction, we provide a full range of customized services, including energy assessments and assistance with obtaining utility incentives. We have expertise in regulatory requirements and can also assist in securing building certifications, such as LEED certification, Passive House Institute US, and Earth Advantage.

    Seamlessly Navigate Green Development

    We know that the building design and development process is complex and fast-moving. Our building services will help owners manage and implement the right energy and water efficiency systems, from design to construction.

    • Design specifications review
    • Green certification project management
    • Energy modeling
    • Commissioning

    Improve Building Performance for Comfort and Efficiency

    Operating and maintaining properties for water and energy efficiency is critical to the long-term fitness of a property. It also leads to happier, more comfortable occupants and lower turnover.  Through our portfolio management services, Elevate Energy and New Ecology can help owners with:

    • Operations and maintenance process consultations
    • Benchmarking
    • Energy and water assessments
    • Ordinance compliance
    • ENERGY STAR® certification
    • Financing and utility rebate support

    As we pursue our mission of smarter energy use for all, we are growing nationally—expanding the reach of our programs, services, and research in collaboration with partner organizations. Please help us spread the word and share this blog post with your friends and networks in Oregon.

     

     

     

  5. A Guide to the Future Energy Jobs Act: Find the Right Program for You

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    Future Energy Jobs Act GuideThe Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) is strengthening the Illinois economy by taking important steps toward our state’s clean energy future. We’re particularly excited about FEJA’s expansion of existing utility energy efficiency programs, its emphasis on community solar, and the job training provisions that ensure underserved communities will benefit.

    FEJA is one of the most significant and monumental energy laws in Illinois. As such, it can be difficult to understand the many programs and projects available to you. To that end, we’re sharing a few opportunities that you can explore today to tap into the real benefit and impact we expect FEJA to bring to our state and our communities.

    ComEd Energy Efficiency Program for Nonprofit Organizations

    • Who is it for? While ComEd’s Business Energy Efficiency Program serves all commercial customers, our role is to help 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participate. We regularly work with childcare centers, social service agencies, community organizations, independent schools, houses of worship, and arts organizations, to name a few.
    • What is it? ComEd, in partnership with Elevate Energy, offers a variety of services and incentives to make energy efficiency improvements more accessible to organizations.
    • What are the benefits for my organization? There’s no cost to participate and the savings potential can be great. Depending on the size of your organization, you may qualify for a free on-site facility assessment and a prioritized list of recommendations. The assessments often uncover no-cost opportunities to save money instantly. All participants are eligible for ComEd incentives to buy down the cost of energy upgrades, which may include LED lighting and controls, efficient motors, HVAC system tune-ups and replacements, and programmable thermostats.
    • Where do I get more information? Complete a nonprofit organization application or give us call us at 773-906-5136.
    • #FEJAInAction: We’re currently working with Easterseals Machesney Park, which provides services so people with disabilities can live, learn, work, and play in our communities. We’ve helped Easterseals implement several lighting and controls improvements that will reduce overhead costs by an estimated $16,000 per year so they can instead focus resources on their critical role in our community.

    Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator

    • Who is it for? The Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator is for individuals that have to date been underserved. This includes people who have graduated out of the Illinois foster care system; returning individuals; diverse contractor businesses that are owned by women, minorities, veterans, and disadvantaged individuals; and low-income communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards.
    • What is it? The accelerator is an initiative to train individuals for jobs in the clean energy economy and to help existing contractors grow their businesses. It brings together established energy business owners, technical experts, and industry specialists to support the development of a diverse, inclusive, and quality energy contracting community.
    • What are the benefits if I participate? Graduates of the accelerator will be able to navigate the growing solar and energy efficiency marketplace in Illinois, access and successfully work on utility energy efficiency projects or solar installations, and build their network and grow their energy business or professional network. We also offer a series of workshops to increase the knowledge and development of contractors.
    • Where do I get more information? Fill out a Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator form or give us call us at 773-269-4037.
    • #FEJAInAction: Alongside partners, community members, elected officials, and students from a local Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator solar training program, we installed one of the first community solar systems under FEJA in Bronzeville, Illinois.

    Income-Eligible Multifamily Energy Efficiency

    • Who is it for? Qualifying multifamily properties must be located in ComEd, North Shore Gas, or Peoples Gas territories and meet specific income guidelines.
    • What is it? This program offers free property assessments to identify energy-saving opportunities as well as incentives for larger capital projects, such as HVAC upgrades. Building owners or managers who participate will also receive installation of free high-efficiency products in residential units, common areas, and exterior spaces. Improvements may include ENERGY STAR®-certified LEDs, programmable thermostats, advanced power strips, boiler tune-ups, and weatherization services.
    • What are the benefits for my multifamily building? Improving the energy efficiency of your building will lower your operating costs and help preserve healthy and affordable housing options in our communities.
    • Where do I get more information? Complete an Income-Eligible Multifamily Energy Efficiency form or call 855-993-0940.

    Future Energy Jobs Act GuideThese programs and stories are evidence that FEJA is working in our state, and this is just the start. We’ll continue to share other beneficial FEJA programs and document the milestones on our path to a strong and clean energy economy in Illinois. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about exciting new solar programs! Follow the transformation at #FEJA and #FEJAInAction. We also recommend this helpful resource from Citizens Utility Board on even more energy efficiency incentives.

  6. Early Progress in Reducing the Risk of Lead Exposure in Water for Children in Illinois

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    The Flint water crisis caused many of us to look at how our cities and states are addressing the risk of lead contamination in water. Illinois, along with six other states, is emerging as a leader in combating the risks of lead exposure in water by requiring testing at what to date has been a critical gap: child care facilities. Recent legislation in Illinois addresses the population of residents who are most at risk of the damaging effects of lead poisoning— children under the age of six. Until now, most child care facilities were not required to test their drinking water for lead.

    In Illinois, all licensed day care homes, day care centers, and group day care homes serving children aged birth to six years and built on or before January 1, 2000, must test their water for lead. The process will be rolled out by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in 2018. A pilot project provides valuable insights as these facilities begin to plan to comply with the requirement.

    Why Child Care Facilities?

    Children spend a lot of time at child care facilities and likely drink tap water and eat food prepared with water in these homes or buildings. The only way to confirm that a facility’s drinking water contains lead is to test it.

    While lead exposure has health implications for all people, the effects are especially concerning among infants and children under the age of six. Children’s developing bodies absorb more of the lead they are exposed to than their adult counterparts. Further, exposure—even at low levels—can damage children’s developing brain and nervous system, contributing to lower IQ, hearing loss, and learning and behavior problems, in and out of the classroom.

    A Window into the Water Testing and Lead Removal Process

    The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) conducted a pilot project to investigate new approaches for lead in water testing and remediation in child care facilities. The full report, Putting children first: Tackling lead in water at child care facilities is available online.

    In Illinois, we partnered with EDF on the pilot to test and remove sources of lead at four nonprofit child care facilities in Chicago. These facilities provide affordable child care services to low-income communities.

    Before testing water for lead, we investigated for the presence of a lead service line. When possible, best practice is to remove a lead service line as it can unpredictably release lead particulate into drinking water. In fact, when present, a lead service line can contribute an estimated 50 to 75 percent of lead in drinking water. If such a line was found, we hired a licensed plumbing contractor to remove it before beginning the lead in water testing process. Other sources of lead exposure in water include plumbing materials like lead solder and brass fixtures that leach lead into drinking water through a process called corrosion.

    Child Care Lead in Water Testing ChicagoResults from the Chicago pilot are encouraging: lead in water has been addressed for nearly 600 children at critical child care facilities in our state. Read this overview for more results and recommendations from the pilot.

    “Testing drinking water for lead is a simple, important step that all child care facilities should take,” said Mario Perez, child care director at El Hogar Del Niño in Chicago. “Through this project, we found and removed a lead service line and were able to identify and replace several problematic drinking water fixtures at our facility. Our partnership with Elevate Energy and EDF has helped us take meaningful steps to better protect the children in our care.”

    Collaboration on a Critical Goal

    The Chicago pilot presents solutions and steps that child care facilities can take to reduce lead exposure at the tap. While compliance with the Illinois legislation will require a reasonable effort, the effort is critical to protect children, our most vulnerable population. Education, support, and funding is necessary, as is collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, including child care facility operators, state agencies and health departments, water utilities, local plumbing contractors, and others. But together, we can help Illinois continue to serve as a model for other states.

    “Children and infants are the most vulnerable to the health effects of lead exposure,” said Caroline Pakenham with Elevate Energy. “We hope other child care facilities will learn about the importance of testing their water for lead and that there are steps they can take to reduce lead levels.”

    Please see these additional resources for more information.

  7. Custom Energy and Water Services for Your Building

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    Building Consulting ServicesAre you motivated or required to meet “green” standards for your property? Do you want to better understand how your properties perform in order to set investment priorities?

    You’re not alone, and that’s a good thing! As part of our mission of smarter energy use for all, we know that when building owners and managers invest in energy and water efficiency solutions, the measures save money, reduce energy use, and preserve affordable and healthy housing for families. But it’s not always clear how or where to start. This is why we’re proud to offer a full suite of customizable energy and water efficiency services to support your single property or entire portfolio. Check out some of our services below, but, because we customize every engagement, the best way to get started is to reach out and tell us more about your unique needs.

    Predevelopment: The Earlier the Better

    We can help you at the earliest stages of project planning to develop the best strategies to meet your goals, timeline, and budget. You’ll reduce the need for later changes and maximize your long-term benefits. Just some of our services include:

    • Rehab energy and water assessment
    • Renewables or certification feasibility
    • Design charrette facilitation

    Building Consulting Services

    Seamlessly Navigate Green Development

    The building design and development process is complex and fast-moving. We get it. And when you factor in green measures, it gets even more complicated. Our building services will help you manage and implement the right energy and water efficiency systems, from design to construction. Some ways we can help you include:

    • Design-spec review
    • Green certification project management
    • Energy modeling
    • Commissioning

    Improve Building Performance for Comfort and Efficiency

    Operating and maintaining properties for water and energy efficiency is critical to the long-term fitness of your property. It also leads to happier, more comfortable occupants and lower turnover. We can help you create healthier homes and reduce your long-term costs through a variety of services, including:

    • Benchmarking (portfolio services, ordinance compliance, and ENERGY STAR® certification)
    • Energy and water assessments
    • Quality inspections
    • Financing and utility rebate support

    We’re Not Salespeople

    We’ve improved the performance of more than 35,000 units over the last decade. In other words, this is what we know and do. With Elevate Energy, you’ll work with trusted building experts to meet your goals, not salespeople.

    Learn more today! Download a brochure, fill out a form or get in touch with us at or 773-269-4037.

     

  8. FEJA Takes Root with SmartFlower™ Solar System in Chicago’s Bronzeville

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    FEJA Solar Bronzeville

    First, we celebrated the 2016 passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), the most significant and comprehensive energy bill passed by the Illinois legislature. Today, we celebrate one of the first solar systems that will be installed in the state under FEJA; it’s also a great example of the Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers in action.

    On a beautiful day in mid-June, we visited the Bronzeville area of Chicago to demonstrate the technology behind a SmartFlower™, an innovative “all-in-one” solar system designed to make it easy to produce clean energy at homes or businesses. Alongside our partners, community members, and local media, we discussed how we can come together to bring the benefits of solar energy and educational opportunities to this and other communities.

    A special public-private partnership was a key part of the day in Bronzeville. We worked alongside Mohawk Group, a producer and distributor of commercial flooring; Groundswell, a nonprofit organization with a focus on community solar projects; and The Renaissance Collaborative (TRC), a community development corporation in Bronzeville. For nearly 30 years, TRC has served its community and promoted self-sufficiency through housing, employment, and educational services.

    FEJA Solar BronzevilleAs part of Mohawk Group’s sustainability efforts, it plans to install a total of ten SmartFlowers at nonprofit organizations across the country to bring sustainable energy into communities. The placement at TRC in Chicago was the first. Other partners who supported the effort in Bronzeville included Millennium Solar and SunCatch Energy.

    We were also joined by students enrolled in a solar training program that was initiated under FEJA and with the support of ComEd to bring job opportunities related to solar to the neighborhood. The training program is part of our Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator, a pipeline initiative to train individuals for employment in the clean energy economy, focusing on those from priority groups, including people who have graduated out of the Illinois foster care system, returning individuals from incarceration or people with a criminal record, and minority or low-income communities that are disproportionately impacted by FEJA Solar Bronzevilleenvironmental hazards.

    “With partners and supporters, we are driven by an ambitious but achievable goal to bring energy cost savings and clean energy jobs to underserved communities,” said Anne Evens, CEO of Elevate Energy. “Together, we can mitigate the climate crisis and improve the economic health of our communities.”

    To us, it was a monumental day as it shows that FEJA is working. It’s also clear evidence that a wide range of people and partners are committed to taking important steps toward our state’s clean energy future.

    Deborah Stone, Chief Sustainability Officer at Cook County, joined us in Bronzeville. “At Cook County, we believe solar is for everybody,” Stone said.

    And this is just the start. With the generous support of the Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers grant, we’ll continue our efforts to transform underserved communities through job creation, healthy and affordable housing, and wealth-building sources of clean energy. Follow the transformation at #FEJA and #ProgressMakers.

     

     

  9. Get Real Estate CE Credits, Boost Your Business, and Support Renewable Energy

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    Real Estate CEA lot has been happening at the intersection of residential energy efficiency and real estate. Much of this recent activity is focused on residential solar photovoltaic (PV) installations.

    The number of households with these systems in the U.S. is growing, now at over one million. By 2020, this number is expected to reach four million. Yet, for many real estate professionals, solar remains a new frontier.

    In an effort to close the knowledge gap, Elevate Energy, with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, launched an online course, Selling the Sun: Establishing Value for Solar Homes, to help real estate professionals understand and value solar PV systems.

    Just Announced: Continuing Education Credits Available for Some States

    For our real estate readers out there, we know that you likely need continuing education (CE) credits to maintain your license in your state. Why not select a course that gives you three credits and a serious market edge at the same time?

    CE credit for Selling the Sun is now available in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia. Agents who complete the three-hour course will be able to communicate the value of solar installations to homeowners, homebuyers, and appraisers. They’ll also know what questions to ask, how solar PV installations affect the sale of a home, and how to identify installations on a multiple listing service.

    There’s a clear environmental impact, too. Once solar PV installations are consistently and accurately valued and investment increases, so too will growth of clean energy nationwide—something we’re particularly excited about at Elevate Energy.

    To celebrate the launch of CE credits, we’re offering a 15% discount off the total cost ($39) of the course for those that register by June 30. Use the code: ELEVATE05252018

    Real Estate CE

    How the Course Helped REALTORS Get Solar Smart

    In an earlier post, we shared a story from Michael Brannon, a REALTOR® at Coldwell Banker Bain in the state of Washington. Michael was compelled to take the course because he believes we can reduce our impact on the earth. “I want to be a part of promoting alternative energy sources,” he said. Turns out, it’s helping his business at the same time.

    “Your eyesight focuses on what your mind’s eye is focused on, like when you’re shopping for a particular type of car and then all of a sudden you see that model everywhere,” Michael said. “Well, now I see so many houses that have solar panel installations, whereas before they didn’t seem to register.”

    Alexis Brausa, a National Association of REALTORS® Green Designee in Texas, sought enhanced training to effectively convey the value of solar PV systems to her clients. “This course provided the necessary training I needed to allow me to represent clients with confidence,” Alexis said. “It not only taught the fundamentals and value proposition of a solar PV system, but it also explained it in terms that make sense to a real estate professional.”

    “Real estate professionals have the unique opportunity to be catalysts for the adoption of clean energy,” Alexis said. “Now we have the training to become trusted solar advisors for our clients.”

    Reach out to Pamela Brookstein at Pamela.Brookstein@ElevateEnergy to learn more or register for the course today to take advantage of the 15% discount.

     

  10. Supporting Chicago’s Most Vital Community Organizations So They Can Support Us

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    The Chicago metropolitan area is home to nearly 30,000 active public charities. These organizations provide critical social services in our communities, such as healthcare, rehabilitation, food, education, and shelter for our most at-risk populations including youth, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.

    Elevate Energy’s nonprofit program works with many of these organizations to reduce their operating costs through cost-effective energy and water efficiency improvements that save an average of 15% on electric, natural gas, and water usage. But perhaps more importantly, directing energy savings to these vital community organizations allows them to redirect resources from overhead costs back to their important missions.

    Elevator Dara Reiff wrote about this in an article for the Social Innovations Journal, a regionally focused, volunteer-driven publication and lab.

    This article shares success stories and best practices of the program, with a focus on the work Dara and Elevate Energy do to support some of the 1,600 licensed childcare centers in our area, which have the capacity to serve over 135,000 children every year. A few key findings in the article are:

    • Our service model is successful because we design it to fit the unique needs and constraints of every organization we work with.
    • Energy efficiency can be complex. Incentive programs offered by utilities require a significant amount of time and technical expertise. To overcome this, we work closely with nonprofit leaders, stakeholders, staff, and volunteers at every step of the retrofit process.
    • Financing retrofits is very often a barrier for nonprofits with limited budgets and resources. We assist organizations with incentives and work with other partners to develop innovative financing sources and mechanisms.
    • In the article, you’ll read about the work we did with Chicago Commons, an organization that for more than 120 years has been delivering programs designed to help children, families, and seniors live better lives. We performed energy and water assessments at two of its buildings and moved ahead with a lighting retrofit that is expected to save the organization over $9,350 on electricity annually.
    • You’ll also read about the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, a frontline responder to reports of child abuse. Since opening its doors in 2001, the center has served more than 30,000 children. We helped it identify energy efficiency measures and incentives that are expected to save the nonprofit about $8,450 annually.

    If there’s one key point in the article, it’s this: energy efficiency provides stability for critical nonprofits. In turn, strong service organizations help build strong communities. Since we launched our nonprofit program, we’ve helped organizations install over 500 energy efficiency projects that are projected to save a total of over $2 million in energy costs annually. Reducing operating costs helps ensure the long-term viability of organizations, allowing them to offer critical services that contribute to the stability of their neighborhoods and ultimately create more vibrant, economically-sound, and thriving communities.

    Check out the full article in issue 46 of the Social Innovations Journal on Chicago’s social innovations, enterprises, and public private partnerships. The edition “demonstrates how Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, is leading the international social impact and social policy movement.” We’re proud to be one of many organizations doing just that.