Saturday, November 17, 2012

Archer Heights Civic Hears About Program That Makes Homes More Energy Efficient

AHCA President Stan Lihosit (left), Jenna Giandoni and Tom McElherne
Simple, practical and inexpensive steps that homeowners can take to make their homes more energy efficient, save money on utility bills and improve their property values were offered at the November meeting of the Archer Heights Civic Association.

Members of heard details of a limited-time rebate for Chicago-area homeowners of up to $1,750 to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The rebate is timed to coincide with fall, as homeowners look to address home maintenance prior to the winter season.

According to Jenna Giandoni, a field organizer for Energy Impact Illinois, more than half of a homeowner’s total energy costs come from heating and cooling, and almost all homes let too much air escape or penetrate through leaks. The new rebates, she told the audience of about 75, are an easy way for homeowners across the region to take simple maintenance measures now that will improve their home’s comfort in the winter months.

It takes three steps for a homeowner to take advantage of this limited-time rebate:

~~ Call 1-855-9-IMPACT to get connected with a certified energy efficiency contractor.

~~ Arrange for the energy efficiency contractor to conduct an in-home energy analysis of the property and identify the most cost-effective improvements, along with a cost estimate. The analysis fee is $99; but will be waived for homeowners who gather five or more other homeowners for an Energy Impact Illinois presentation in their home.

~~ Complete the recommended work with the contractor. Once the work is complete, the instant rebate of up to $1,750 is automatically applied and the homeowner enjoys a more comfortable home and lower energy bills.

Homeowners interested in completing larger-scale energy efficiency work can take advantage of a financing program that offers 8 percent interest or less, and the first year is interest free.

Joining Giandoni in making the presentation was Tom McElherne, Vice President of Sales at DNR Construction, a family-owned firm that for 14 years has provided weatherization and
 construction services in the Chicago area and specializes in the exterior remodeling of single family, condominium, and townhome complexes. DNR also reports that it is the largest weatherization contractor in Illinois. McElherne briefly walked the audience through the steps involved in making a typical home more energy efficient.

Energy Impact Illinois is an alliance of local and federal organizations, utility companies and not-for-profit groups working to help communities change their energy usage habits by offering access to an array of programs and solutions. The alliance provides people and businesses with resources designed to make it easy to save energy and money for collective results. The alliance was formed as a result of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program.

Also at the AHCA meeting,

** Members heard from AHCA Vice President Michael Kovac about efforts to work with the Chicago City Clerk's Office and the Chicago Department of Revenue to crack down on motorists who try to get away with purchasing automobile license plates and city vehicle stickers for their trucks and other large vehicles. Kovac, who also serves as CAPS facilitator for the Chicago Police Department's Eighth District's Beat 815, encouraged everyone to attend the next local CAPS meeting, set for 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 5 at St. Bruno School (south entrance), 4839 South Harding.

** There was no report from the AHCA's building and zoning committee, reflecting the group's ongoing frustration with what they have described as a maddeningly slow response from the Chicago Department of Buildings.

** Officials reported success in the ongoing battle against graffiti, claiming that of the 153 instances of graffiti reported in recent months, just 17 remain to be eradicated---and that the vast majority of graffiti in the area is not gang-related.

** Complaints to Eighth District Police about a local muffler shop parking cars on the street near Archer and Kostner have yielded positive results. AHCA Executive Director Thomas Baliga noted that several cars have been ticketed for having no valid plates and/or city stickers. Most have been removed, but some have been replaced by others; and those in turn have also been ticketed. Baliga described the situation as " ongoing problem that we continue to pursue with Eighth District Community Relations."

** Baliga also discussed membership enrollment, which is $10 per year. Simple registration forms can be found in the ACHA’s monthly newsletter, a six-page publication packed with updates on the group’s effort to fight crime and blight and promote a safer and more prosperous community. Baliga noted that nearly 3,000 local households have been blanketed with newsletters, and he urged everyone in the audience to successfully enroll one new member from their blocks.

To learn more about the AHCA, call 773-843-2232. AHCA meetings are always held on the second Wednesday of the month at the UNO Veterans Memorial Campus, 47th and Kildare, with the exception of July and August, and always start at 7:30 p.m. All Archer Heights residents are encouraged to attend.

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1 comment:

  1. Energy Efficiency - It seems as though, just like with the government, all the perks are to those who can "afford" to pay upfront. What about the people who live from paycheck to paycheck with no savings? I personally can not afford to front up $99 plus repair fees and I know my older home has issues just with the circuit breaker alone. I know I'm not alone on this one!