Thinking of replacing that old refrigerator with an energy efficient model? Or maybe you’d like a loan to pay for energy efficient windows.
If you’re considering improvements to your home that will cut energy bills, there’s now an online one-stop resource available to help you find products, estimate costs and savings, find a local contractor, see what tax credits you may qualify for and even learn what financial resources are available.
Energy Impact Illinois debuted June 2, offering information and resources to homeowners, businesses, and government and non-profit organizations seeking to improve buildings with energy efficient materials.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning spearheaded the agency which consists of citizen advocacy groups, government agencies, utility companies working together to create a long-term market for energy improvement in residential, commercial and industrial buildings while pooling resources to create easy access for information and hopefully encourage growth in the “green” job market.
Having reliable information and resources in one place will make it easier for consumers to choose the right energy-efficient services and products which are also environmentally friendly.
“It’s a one-stop shopper,” said CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn. “Here’s what I want to do, who do I contact and where do I go for funding and where do I go for the kind of information I need.”
Financial institutions listed on the site have agreed to participate in the program and incentive tools offered by utilities or by federal or state agencies are available so there’s no chasing around for information. Listed contractors meet CMAP’s certifications, he said.
There are no costs for visitors to access the site or to connect to links provided.
The alliance was formed when CMAP was approached by the city of Chicago’s Deptartment of Energy, suggesting it might make sense to create a regional organization that would extend from Chicago to Rockford using federal grant monies from the U.S. Deptartment of Energy.
“We reached out to the city of Rockford mainly because our utilities companies overlap,” Blankenhorn said.
CMAP was awarded $25 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the DOE in April, 2010, for a three-year period.
Blankenhorn said that by the time the funding is exhausted, it is hoped Energy Impact Illinois will be self-sustaining as loans roll over.
“It’s an opportunity to make this last for a much longer period of time than the three years of this grant,” he said.
Blankenhorn suggested people check the site periodically for new information and resources, as not all contracts were in place when the site launched.