CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ComEd, Elevate, and Illinois Green today announced that a proposal to expand building electrification in Illinois has been selected for a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The grant award, made possible by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), will support the launch of a new Chicago building performance Hub, a collaboration by ComEd, Elevate, Illinois Green Alliance and state and local partners to advance more sustainable building practices across Illinois.
The building performance Hub will provide advisory services to building owners and contractors, supporting them on compliance with advanced energy codes and building policies, such as building electrification. ComEd will serve as a technical advisor on the project, investing $500,000 to stand up programs over the next three years.
“The DOE grant award reinforces the already strong collaboration between ComEd and our partners across the region who are committed to lowering harmful greenhouse gas emissions across our communities,” said Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “This work is critical to the clean energy transition in northern Illinois and throughout the state, and the new Building Performance Hub will play a key role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and creating a cleaner future for all.”
As Illinois communities work to lower carbon emissions, the Hub will play a key role in supporting compliance with current and future building efficiency and electrification codes and requirements. Through the Hub, building owners and developers can leverage a network of support and resources, with training and advisory services available to help make meeting advanced decarbonization goals more cost-effective. The Hub will provide training on new electrification measures, such as heat pumps, and will connect diverse contractors to a pipeline of building projects.
“We want to make the benefits of the clean energy economy accessible to everyone, and that’s really what the Hub is going to focus on,” said Anne Evens, CEO of Elevate. “Right now there’s an unprecedented amount of climate standards and funding available – we need to make sure people have the support they need to access these opportunities.”
Also through the Hub, building stakeholders can access support on effectively leveraging available resources, such as layering utility energy efficiency incentives with the Inflation Reduction Act’s record level of funding to support building electrification.
“The Hub will reach a diverse cross-section of building professionals in Illinois with the education and training to make improving building performance easy and cost effective,” said Brian Imus, Executive Director of Illinois Green. “The focus is on technical and actionable resources that will ensure our region can meet aggressive climate action goals within the building sector while building an inclusive green economy.”
The grant was made available by the IIJA, the bipartisan federal infrastructure plan dedicated to boosting resilient infrastructure and supporting and equitable clean energy transition in America. The new Building Performance Hub received funding as part of a $90 million competitive grant opportunity by the DOE to help communities implement updated energy codes for buildings, with a goal of lowering both greenhouse gas emissions and the cost of energy bills for customers across the country.
Today, buildings account for nearly 74 percent of US electricity consumption, and a third of greenhouse gas emissions nationally. Efforts to lower carbon emissions and transition to more energy efficient technologies are a hallmark of the state's landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which calls for a significant reduction in carbon emissions by 2050; as well as the City of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for residential decarbonization targets and updated building codes guiding new construction.
"Buildings represent the largest source of Chicago's GHG emissions and Mayor Johnson is committed to equitably transitioning our buildings to a cleaner, healthier future," said Angela Tovar, the City of Chicago's Chief Sustainability Officer. "We can only achieve the ambitious goals of our Climate Action Plan through exciting partnerships like this Building Performance Hub. Equitable decarbonization means connecting Chicagoans to financial and technical resources that provide support at every step along the way."
New investments in a building performance Hub build on ComEd’s ongoing work to help customers lower reliance on fossil fuels through the use of more efficient energy technologies. In addition to the award-winning energy efficiency programs, which have helped families and businesses in our communities save more than $8 billion on their energy bills since 2008, ComEd is supporting customers in the move toward electrification. A new partnership with Elevate and other partners in the region is also working to convert low-income homes to energy-saving, all-electric heating and cooling systems and appliances. The program is already demonstrating how customers can save on home electrification, with potentially hundreds of dollars saved annually on overall energy bills, while significantly lowering energy usage.
“The Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, designated the Illinois Finance Authority as the Climate Bank and made it our mission to accelerate the investment of private capital into clean energy projects in a way that reflects the geographic, racial, ethnic, and income-level diversity of Illinois,” said Chris Meister, Illinois Finance Authority/Climate Bank Executive Director, “As the Climate Bank, we are intensely focused on obtaining and deploying federal funds to meet our CEJA mission and the Hub will help our State do so. We thank Governor Pritzker for helping the Climate Bank participate as a necessary financial partner in the Hub which will help fill financial and knowledge gaps for disadvantaged businesses who wish to participate in the Illinois clean energy economy.”
Additionally, ComEd is removing barriers to electric vehicles (EVs) and other electric technologies. A recently finalized $231 million investment will expand transportation and residential electrification programs for customers through 2025, with a focus on removing barriers to EVs, fleet electrification and creating a network of charging stations. To help customers unlock the benefits of clean transportation, ComEd offers customers an EV Toolkit, a one-stop-shop with information about the savings, benefits and incentives associated with switching to an EV.
ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 250 energy company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.