CHICAGO—A groundbreaking program that has provided technical assistance on more than 200 construction and renovation projects in northern Illinois was recognized with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's 2014 Inspiring Efficiency Impact Award.

The New Construction Service, a joint venture between ComEd and Nicor Gas energy efficiency programs, combines technical education and training to encourage building owners, designers and architects to invest in efficiency. The program is implemented by the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

About the program

By providing incentives to developers to exceed the energy efficiency standards set by Illinois, the program has prevented 106 million pounds of CO2 emissions from polluting the region—the equivalent of removing 10,000 vehicles from the road.

The projected annual savings from the nearly 150 projects currently enrolled in the New Construction Service totals 49 million kWh and 927,000 therms, well beyond initial targets. In four years, the program has exceeded its electric savings goal by at least 30 percent. Since Nicor Gas joined in 2011, the program has provided natural gas incentives to 34 projects, saving 234,000 therms per year. A quick-start program implementation strategy gained a 50% share of the new construction market within 24 months of launching in the region.

The New Construction Service goes beyond traditional program offerings to focus on education.

"Our goal is to encourage long-term changes in behavior to help customers save energy and money," said Tim Melloch, director of energy efficiency services at ComEd. "We are able to achieve this by integrating technical education and training to support achieving short-term savings goals while also encouraging building owners, designers and architects to exceed standard new construction, renovation and lighting practices."

"The New Construction Service presents an incredibly valuable opportunity to the design and construction community," said Jim Jerozal, managing director, energy efficiency, Nicor Gas. "From the initial building concept to final specification, the program provides a platform to test energy efficiency ideas on each project. This is a critical aspect of design that is often not available to new construction projects."

Walgreens and the University of Chicago have both partnered with the New Construction Service on major green building ventures. Approximately 33 percent of all enrolled projects are pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

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