Empowering Residential Electric Customers To Manage Energy Usage

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) is the leading Illinois NGO that represents the interests of Illinois consumer’s in utility related matters.  CUB also provides information and assistance to Illinois customers about utility companies.  Last year CUB launched the Energy Saver Program, which is a free on-line program that helps people track their home energy usage.  During its first seven months, Illinois residents saved enough energy to run 2,000 refrigerators for one year, which is about equal to the electric needs of an average home for one year.
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Illinois Energy Policies Promote Job Growth


A new report called A Bright Future for the Heartland released by the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS), an independent non-profit dedicated to scientific analysis, estimates that Illinois’ current energy policies will create 8,400 more new jobs in the state by 2030. This jobs estimate is in addition to jobs that have already been created, and the report accounts for predicted job losses in the fossil fuel sector. Click here to read the full report and access individual state reports.

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What’s So Exciting About Replacing The 60W Light Bulb?


According to the United States Department of Energy (DOE), in its press release last week, if every 60W light bulb in the U.S. was replaced with the winning bulb, the nation would save energy equal to $3.9 billion per year -and avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions.  This is no small statement.

Consider, for example, that a 2007 study published by Science Daily, that ranked coal plants in the U.S, reported that each of the top 5 coal burning plants in the U.S. reportedly emits about 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.  So replacing the 60W light bulb throughout the U.S. is like retiring one of our nation’s largest coal plants?  That’s a lot of energy efficiency!

The winning light bulb uses semi-conductor technology to convert electricity into light, also known as light-emitting diode (LED) technology.  The  light bulb underwent independent and field testing for 18 months, in a wide-range of extreme conditions.  The light bulb may be on the market as early as 2012.  Already 31 utilities and their energy efficiency program partners from around the country stand ready to help with public outreach about this new innovation.

The Energy Audit Helps A World Class Building Continue Saving Energy After LEED Certification


In 2005, the Merchandise Mart – one of the world’s largest commercial buildings – decided to find ways to improve energy usage in its massive 4.2 million square foot, circa 1930 complex of office, retail, showroom and tradeshow space.  The “Mart” hired an independent contractor to conduct an energy audit of the complex to provide an independent perspective, and provide real benchmarks to determine success.  The energy audit helped the Mart prioritize which measures to take in the short-term, which led to the Mart being LEED certified in 2007.
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Chicago Mayor Emanuel Links Energy Efficiency Initiative With Sustainable Policies And Economic Growth


This week Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an opportunity to put commercial building energy auditors and retrofit companies to work on the nearly 100 City owned buildings in Chicago.  The program, called the Guaranteed Energy Performance Contracting program, began on July 13th and is being administered by the Chicago Public Building Commission (PBC). Read the rest of this entry »

Helping Communities See Waste As A Treasure Trove


There are many good reasons to recycle materials whenever possible.  One good reason is that recycling reduces emissions which contriubute to global warming.  According to USEPA, reusing and recycling materials reduces energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture, distribution and use products.

For 20 years, Kay McKeen of School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE) has been providing hands-on education to students, business people and communties in Illinois – showing them ways to to reduce waste and also give a second life to many throw -away items.

Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News recently featured Kay McKeen as A Person Making A Difference.  Kay talks about her favorite recycling item being a school book – and SCARCE has recycled 4 million school books in 20 years!  Take a look and be inspired!  SCARCE is an affiliate of the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC).

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Illinois’s Energy Efficiency Policies Create Good Jobs and Save Money


The American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) just released a report that shows Illinois is among the top performing U.S. states for energy efficiency policies that have achieved real results.   Illinois’ commitment to energy efficiency has jump started a growing energy efficiency business sector which, according to Environment Illinois, has resulted in over 1,000 new businesses.

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