Elevate Energy Blog

Cold Hard Truths Lead to Congressional Building Tour

“The winter never skips Chicago.” Even with average winter temperatures in Chicago up three degrees compared to 50 years ago, building owner Jim Saccone speaks a cold hard truth.

In Chicago, three out of four people reside in multifamily buildings. For these residents, colder winter temperatures often mean colder homes. A tenant on the top floor of one of Jim’s buildings in Logan Square had this problem; she told him that her apartment was always cold no matter what she tried.

Jim called us for help. We conducted an energy assessment of his 19-unit, 100-year-old building and identified the issues. The building lacked insulation and air sealing in the attic space, typical of buildings of this age. We all know that hot air rises. With no thermal barrier to stop it, the heat in the top floor units rose up and out of the units and through the roof.

We also found additional measures to reduce his operating costs and create healthier, cozier homes for his tenants. Jim’s building had an old, inefficient boiler and the building also needed upgraded lighting and water fixtures.

“If you’re going to keep a property long-term, it makes sense to complete these energy efficiency programs, because it will save money in the long run,” Jim said. “It’s simple mathematics if you do the correct installations.”

Local Contractors Do the Work

At Jim’s building, Mokena-based Minnich Insulation, Inc completed the air sealing and insulation in the roof cavity, and Fewer Boiler, Inc  of Chicago replaced the old steam boiler with a modulating boiler that keeps temperatures more consistent. We also replaced fluorescent lights with energy efficient LED bulbs and installed low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in each unit.

Offset the Costs

A key part of a successful energy efficiency program is to connect building owners to resources that offset the costs of the improvements. For Jim, we were able to connect him to over $22,000 in utility funded incentives for the new boiler, lighting retrofit, and water efficiency fixtures.

He’s already seeing results. “I’ve noticed dramatic improvements in the warmth of the units” Jim said. His tenants have noticed, too. “You get a happier customer—which is your resident,” he said.

Showcase the Work

The improvements to Jim’s building tell an important story of how support for housing and clean energy programs preserve healthy and affordable housing and create local jobs. It was such a good story that we invited U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley to tour Jim’s building and see the benefits of energy efficiency himself. A champion of practical solutions to problems, Rep. Quigley heard directly from the owner, tenants, and contractors – beneficiaries of  policies that support energy efficiency programs.

Is your apartment cold? While we can’t promise a local official will visit your building, we can set you on the path to a cozier, healthier home through energy and water efficiency improvements. Let your landlord know about Elevate Energy’s services.