More than 2,500 Illinois homeowners were able to stay warmer this winter for less thanks to their participation in the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (IHP) program, which helps participants lower their utility bills and increase the comfort, safety and value of their home.
Since its inception in 2011, the program has helped Illinois homeowners save more than $1 million on their utility bills and over 27,000 MWh of energy, enough to power approximately 725 homes for one year.
IHP connects Illinois homeowners with certified contractors to complete energy efficiency retrofits to their homes. Participants who reduce their home energy use by 15 percent or more receive Gold or Silver-level certificates of completion that verify the resulting energy savings, which they can use to stand out in the marketplace when it comes time to sell their homes.
The IHP program is coordinated by Chicago-based Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) and funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which will be recognized on April 29 in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program as a Partner of the Year for its work on IHP.
“The Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program allows homeowners to become more energy efficient while adding real value to their homes,” said Aimee Skrzekut, MEEA director of programs. “Studies have demonstrated that homes with a third party green certification sell for an average of nine percent more than similar, non-certified homes.”
Illinois homeowners are able to promote the value of their efficiency investments by listing their IHP Certificates on local Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Illinois’s largest MLS, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), has a specific checkbox for Illinois Home Performance Certificates.
“With this harsh winter behind us and cooling season just around the corner, this is the ideal time to invest in a home energy upgrade,” said Skrzekut.
Homeowners can visit www.illinoishomeperformance.org to find a list of pre-approved local contractors who can perform in-home energy audits and also carry out any suggested improvements. This comprehensive approach ensures that the maximum energy savings are achieved at minimum cost in one coordinated plan. As the final step of the IHP program, contractors run tests to verify the improvements are working as intended.
In addition to issuing certificates to homeowners, the IHP program has trained hundreds of contractors in advanced building science and offers an ongoing training program to teach real estate professionals about the value of energy efficiency in Illinois homes. These innovative initiatives were cited by the EPA in recognizing IHP and DCEO as a 2014 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year.
For information on eligibility, rebates, and how to get started, homeowners can visit www.illinoishomeperformance.org or call the Illinois Home Performance Hotline at (866) 395-1032 extension 1.
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the program's coordinator, is a non-profit organization committed to advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation. MEEA works in 13 states to bridge the gap between policy adoption and program implementation. Visit www.mwalliance.org to learn more.