Chicago–The nonprofit energy specialist CNT Energy and the nonprofit mortgage lender Community Investment Corp. have created the Energy Savers program to promote energy efficiency in multifamily structures in the Chicago area. The program helps multifamily owners make improvements to their properties, but it also aims to create jobs for the skilled building trades at a time when residential building, even in the multifamily sector, is in a years-long slump.
Thus far, the program has assisted in energy-efficiency improvements in more than 3,500 housing units in the area, cutting energy costs by 30 percent on average, according to CNT Energy. Besides saving each building owner an average of $10,000 per year, the program has created jobs for contractors who implement Energy Savers’ energy efficiency recommendations.
CNT Energy evaluates each multifamily building and helps owners identify cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. CIC offers low-cost financing options to cover the cost of the work. This approach makes it possible for building owners to invest in building upgrades that will pay off in lower electricity and gas bills.
The program has created work for energy auditors, insulation specialists, heating contractors and others, notes CNT Energy. Building owners participating in the program have hired companies to do projects such as sealing ducts and insulating hot-water tanks and pipes. So far over the past three years, about 75 jobs have been created because of the program, and perhaps an additional 165 jobs will be created over the next two years.
At the moment the Energy Savers program is regional to the Chicago area, but CNT Energy believes its application elsewhere is a possibility. “It’s a model that can be replicated in metropolitan areas across the United States,” Anne Evens, director of CNT Energy, tells MHN.