Melissa Ulbricht's Blog (15)

Air Sealing and Insulation Joins the Cost Versus Value Study

It’s really nice when hard work pays off.

As part of the collaborative efforts of the Value for High Performance Homes Campaign, we were able to get an energy efficiency measure – air sealing and insulation – added to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost versus Value study. This matters because it legitimizes a valuable, low-cost, and manageable home improvement project which home…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on September 17, 2015 at 9:38am — No Comments

At PlugFest, Energy Efficiency Plays Well With Real Estate

If you haven’t heard, there’s a lot happening right now at the intersection of home energy performance and real estate.

Let’s set the scene first. As you may have experienced, when homeowners make improvements to an existing house, the most important aspects of home performance – including safety, comfort,…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on September 8, 2015 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Retrofitting TV and Radio Stations in Chicago

We recently shared this story on the Elevate Energy blog. Public television station WTTW is a local favorite in Chicago. Alongside our partners, we helped upgrade the lighting and energy efficiency at their production studios. Read more about the expected savings and how the improvements benefit both the station crew and audience.

Making Chicago’s WTTW and WFMT More Energy Efficient…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on July 30, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

How to Optimize On-Bill Financing to Help Illinois Building Owners Invest in Energy Efficiency

This post is written by Marcella Bondie Keenan, policy fellow at Elevate Energy.

Building owners can save money by investing in energy efficiency improvements. But if they can’t afford the upfront costs of the upgrades, they continue to pay higher energy bills and are even less able to pay for energy efficiency improvements down the road.

On-bill financing (OBF) is one tool to help owners break out of this cycle. It provides an opportunity to invest in energy…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on February 18, 2015 at 11:36am — 2 Comments

New $1.6 Million Program Helps Electric-Heated Buildings in Chicago Save Energy, Money

Many Chicago apartment buildings are electrically heated – meaning that the primary heat source is delivered via electricity, rather than natural gas or other sources. A …


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on January 15, 2015 at 7:51am — 2 Comments

Multifamily Buildings Are Now Eligible to Apply for ENERGY STAR Certification

Sandeep and Carolyn Sood own several apartment buildings in Chicago, but the 55-unit building at 6731 S. Jeffery Boulevard is special. The building is one of the first in the country to receive the new ENERGY STAR® certification for multifamily buildings.

“For us, it’s an important designation. It shows people that want to live here that we care.…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on November 13, 2014 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

When windows aren't the culprit of a leaky building, solve the mystery with an energy audit.

Liz Vogel replaced the windows and updated the heating system in her small multifamily building in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. But she still noticed that parts of her home were not staying warm in winter. So she set out to solve the mystery of the missing heat. She saw icicles hanging from her roof, and that was a clue that pointed to where heat was escaping. The presence of these “ice dams” meant that Liz was paying to heat her roof and melt the snow instead of heating her…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on September 11, 2014 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Making Homes Cozier With a House Party

This week, Elevate Energy read two great accounts of how friends and neighbors came together to learn how to make their own homes cozier and more energy efficient. Thanks for sharing!

This homeowner wanted to improve her “leaky old ship” of a home and discovered an energy loss culprit.



Added by Melissa Ulbricht on May 15, 2014 at 8:32am — No Comments

What You Need to Know Right Now About Chicago Energy Benchmarking

Own or manage a non-residential building over 250,000 square feet in Chicago?

Chicago energy benchmarking begins! We’ve got the basics to help building owners get started.

Professional and public interest groups from around Chicago, including Elevate Energy, have come together to support building owners and managers in energy benchmarking and efficiency improvement opportunities. You have access to:

  • Free resources and training. The…

Added by Melissa Ulbricht on April 10, 2014 at 8:00am — No Comments

How to Help Appraisers Fairly Value Home Energy Efficiency Improvements

In 2013, we published a blueprint with the National Home Performance Council that outlines a seven-step…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on March 6, 2014 at 9:49am — 10 Comments

Claim Tax Credits for Home Energy Efficiency Improvements Done in 2013

If you completed certain eligible energy efficiency improvements last year, you may qualify for credit when you file your 2013 taxes this year.

Remember, though, improvements must have been installed in 2013, not just purchased, and generally, claims can only be made on your primary residence.

Eligible measures may include doors, windows, and…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on January 23, 2014 at 11:04am — No Comments

Making the Invisible Visible: Valuing Energy Efficiency Improvements in a Real Estate Transaction

Often, when homeowners make improvements to an existing house, the most important aspects of home performance – including safety, comfort, energy efficiency, durability, and environmental impact – are literally invisible during key steps of any home sale or refinance transaction.

One result is that energy…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on August 19, 2013 at 1:44pm — 3 Comments

Modernizing the Residential Utility Disclosure Ordinance in Chicago

Back in the ‘80s, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and others helped the City of Chicago pass a residential utility disclosure ordinance that required the disclosure of heating bills when residential properties are sold or leased in the city. Why? Heating expenses constitute a significant home expense, and it’s important for consumers and Realtors to have access to this information.

Until now, complying with the ordinance could take up to two weeks: a Realtor submitted an…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on July 9, 2013 at 1:23pm — 3 Comments

Lights, Camera, Energy Efficiency!

More energy efficient stage lighting? Yes, please! Theatrical lighting is found in many schools, churches, and local theaters. The Tungsten lamp on the left runs at 575 or 750 watts, lasts for about 1,500 to 2,000 hours, and requires oft-replaced gel slides for color changes. And it gets very hot. By comparison, the LED…


Added by Melissa Ulbricht on February 7, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Get the Most out of Home Energy Efficiency Tax Credits in Illinois

As part of the “fiscal cliff” legislation signed into law early this year, Congress provided a number of 2012 and 2013 tax credits for home energy efficiency improvements. These tax credits, coupled with financial incentives available for energy efficiency improvements, make right now a lucrative time to invest in home energy…

Added by Melissa Ulbricht on January 11, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments

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