Illinois Foundation Awards $2.1 Million in Energy Efficiency Grants

Grants to fund start-of-the-art energy efficiency with cost savings to promote economic development.

Published: 23-Jan-2002

CHICAGO -- Jan. 23, 2002-- At a press conference today, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) awarded its first-ever round of grants to 28 organizations around the state. The grants total $2.1 million and concentrate on integrating state-of-the-art energy efficiency into new and rehabilitated buildings and on using the cost savings from energy efficiency investments to promote economic development.
Peter P. Peters, Chairman of the ICECF Board of Trustees, describes the goal of these grants as "climbing a ladder. Every step to a higher level of efficiency saves energy, leading to lower costs for consumers, increased economic growth and reduced pollution in our communities."

John W. Rowe, co-CEO and President of Exelon Corporation, Commonwealth Edison's parent company, attended the grant announcement and said, "The ICECF vision is to support energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources and preserve natural areas and wildlife habitats. It's exciting to see that vision come to life in these first grants and for Exelon Corporation to be a part of it."

The ICECF, an independent nonprofit organization, received its $225 million endowment from Commonwealth Edison.

The twenty-eight ICECF grants are being awarded to nonprofit organizations and local governments. Many of these grants will provide for the design of energy efficient public buildings, from police stations to nature centers and from schools to affordable housing developments. Other grants will support the use of energy efficiency as an economic development tool for downtown revitalization and job creation and retention.

"In this first grant cycle, we chose projects that advance the energy efficiency aspect of our threefold mission," stated Mr. Peters. "Each of the projects incorporates energy efficiency into innovative efforts that serve its community and we are proud to be funding these worthy projects."

The grants awarded today respond to overwhelming public support for improving energy efficiency in public buildings. Among participants in a statewide poll last summer: 75 percent said it is extremely or very important for state and local governments to make new and existing buildings energy efficient; 84 percent favored requiring energy efficient designs for all government-funded construction projects; and 76 percent called for changing local building codes to require new and remodeled homes and businesses to be energy efficient. In this same poll, 84 percent cited the benefits to their communities of businesses and manufacturing plants investing more in clean energy technologies. The ICECF commissioned the poll to benchmark Illinois residents' attitudes on energy issues prior to making its first grants.

The ICECF is backing up its grant program with an initiative to work with Illinois municipalities to capture the momentum for energy efficiency. "The Foundation recently sponsored energy efficient building workshops in Normal and Rockford," explained Bob Romo, the ICECF's Program Officer for this effort. "We are partnering with a growing number of cities and towns across the state as they work to adopt energy efficiency building codes."

Reactions of Grant Recipients

Following are examples of what ICECF grant recipients had to say about what this funding means to their communities:

"With this grant, we will be able to build some of the most energy efficient homes in Illinois," said Elizabeth Reyes, Executive Director of Claretian Associates in Chicago. "Not only does this set our homes apart from others on the market, it allows us to bring energy efficiency to neighborhoods that do not traditionally see this type of development."

"We're proud to be recognized by the ICECF for our initiative to use energy efficiency as a new tool in our economic development effort to retain and add jobs in the communities we work with," said Kimberly Pierce, Executive Director of Macomb Area Industrial Development Corporation. "We believe that our program can serve as a prototype for others of what can be achieved through innovative use of energy efficiency to improve both our local economy and our environment."

"This support from the ICECF will enable us to continue and expand our efforts to get energy efficiency information and assistance to local businesses and community residents," said Champaign Downtown Association President Andrew Timms. "We hope other Illinois communities will benefit from our experience with this project that combines community outreach, public school involvement, downtown economic development and the preservation and re-use of historic buildings."

"With the help of funding from the ICECF, our newest building will meet U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements for energy efficiency and sustainable design," explained Jean Butzen, President of Lakefront SRO in Chicago.

"The Village of Villa Park appreciates the support of the ICECF in helping us to develop a highly energy efficient police station for our community which we hope will serve as a model for both other municipal structures and commercial buildings in our area," said Village President Rae Rupp Srch. "Better building techniques and codes are necessary to enhance our environment, protect our energy resources, and build better work conditions for our employees."

Carol Timms, director of EnergyNet, an organization that works with schools statewide, said,"We are excited about the opportunity to use this grant from the ICECF to develop two new EnergyNet projects: Energy Engineers - enabling students to apply their knowledge of energy efficiency to evaluating new school construction proposed for their districts - and Community Energy Consultants - assisting students to identify opportunities that other organizations and businesses in their communities have to increase energy efficiency."

"We believe this project can serve as a prototype of what can be achieved by community-based organizations and small businesses in Illinois," said Rey B. Gonzalez, Chairman of El Valor. "With this ICECF grant, we can bring a much needed family center to the Little Village/South Lawndale community of Chicago and enhance our environment by designing our building to be very energy efficient."

About the $2.1 Million in Grants Awarded Today

Grants to Integrate Energy Efficient Elements into New and Existing Buildings

Grant Recipient      Project Purpose        Project Location  Amount
---------------      ---------------        ----------------  ------

Bolingbrook Park     Design of new          Bolingbrook       $75,000
District             maintenance building    

City of Fulton       Business & resident    Fulton            $65,500
                     energy awareness 

Claretian Associates Design of new          Chicago           $20,000
                     single-family homes    

School District      Design of new          Cuba              $60,500
no. 3, Fulton County environmentally    
                     sustainable school 

El Valor             Design of new children Chicago           $73,560
                     & family center        

EnergyNet            Involving students in 
                     improving energy       
                     efficiency of schools 
                     and other facilities
                     in their community     Statewide        $100,000

Inspired             Increasing energy      Metro Chicago     $34,070
Partnerships         efficiency of church                       

Lake County Forest   Design of new          Deerfield         $75,000
Preserves            environmental education       

Lakefront SRO        Design of multi-family Chicago           $63,000
                     supportive housing 

Latin United         Increasing residential Chicago          $200,000
Community Housing    energy efficiency

McHenry County 
Defenders            Design of new          McHenry County    $40,000
                     headquarters building             

Lutheran             Increasing energy      Metro Chicago     $65,000
Metropolitan         efficiency of church
Chicago Synod        facilities             

Museum of Science &  Install combined       Chicago          $200,000
Industry             heating/cooling/power       

Northern Illinois    Assess feasibility of  DeKalb            $25,000
University           potential new 
                     multi-building thermal 
                     energy storage system

Oakton Community     Design new building    Skokie            $75,000
College              on Ray Hartstein Campus      

Peggy Notebaert      Plan and design new    Chicago           $75,000
Nature Museum        wing of the museum      

Prairie Crossing     Design and commission  Grayslake         $75,000
Charter School       new school building           

University of        Develop sustainable    Chicago           $44,500
Illinois at Chicago  design certification               

Village of Villa     Design of new police   Villa Park        $60,000
Park                 station                        

Grants to Promote Economic Development through Energy Efficiency Cost

Grant Recipient      Purpose                Project Location  Amount
---------------      -------                ----------------  ------

Center for           Assess feasibility of  Outside metro     $50,000
Neighborhood         replicating Community  Chicago
Technology           Energy Cooperative in        
                     additional communities                                
Champaign            Promote energy         Champaign         $51,250
Downtown Association efficient renovation 
                     and reuse of Champaign’s 
                     historic buildings

Chicagoland Chamber  Outreach and technical Metro Chicago     $30,425
of Commerce          assistance to small &

Community & Economic Energy efficiency loan Ford County       $20,000
Development          fund as part of 
Foundation of Ford   industrial retention 
County               program

Gas Technology       Promoting combined     Statewide         $87,329
Institute            heat/power systems

Macomb Area          Energy efficiency loan Macomb area       $40,000
Industrial Dev.      fund for industrial 
Corporation          retention     

Midwest Energy       Assess energy          Statewide        $180,000
Efficiency Alliance  efficient products  
                     market saturation

North Business       Outreach to small &    Metro Chicago     $42,000
& Industrial         medium-sized businesses

University of        Promoting energy       Statewide        $152,030
Illinois at Chicago  efficiency to chemical 

About the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

The ICECF is an independent, nonprofit grantmaking organization that supports clean energy development and land conservation efforts, working with communities and citizens to improve environmental quality in Illinois.

This spring, the ICECF will follow up its energy efficiency grants by awarding its first grants focused on the other two aspects of its mission: expanding development of renewable energy resources in Illinois and conserving natural habitats and wildlife areas in the state.

Additional information about the ICECF and its programs and the results of its statewide poll of Illinois residents' attitudes about energy issues can be found at

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