Residential

IHP: New Year, New Funding, Same Program

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Okay, it might not be January 1, but it is the start of a new Illinois Home Performance program year, and we're happy to ring in a new year with supporters like you. We want to take the time to thank you all for supporting our efforts to spread the benefits of home performance throughout the state of Illinois.

We want to ensure you all that our efforts will not stop due to recent changes with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy and Recycling Office. While we are sad to see them go as a partner, we are excited about the possibilities to partner with other funders in the future.

This Home is a Total Zero (Good!)

There are many paths to building a highly energy efficient new home, including Passivehaus, Living Building Challenge and the soon-to-be-released ASHRAE 90.2 standard. Policies designed to save energy are also driving up demand for efficient housing. California, for example, will soon require that all new homes be zero net energy.

Given increasing interest for such innovative homes, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which people across the country are able to just pick their favorite energy efficient home from a subdivision full of zero net energy (ZNE) homes.

ASHRAE Residential Code Nears Completion

After a hiatus of more than a decade, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is close to completing the update of the residential building code ASHRAE 90.2: Energy Efficient Design of Low Rise Residential Buildings. ASHRAE 90.2 is the companion standard to the better-known ASHRAE 90.1, which is the energy efficiency standard for commercial and high rise residential buildings.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Here in Chicago where MEEA is based, the winter months get so cold the air hurts my face. During my walk to work a few days ago, I’m pretty sure I was close to becoming an actual Popsicle. The long nights and lack of sunshine only exacerbate the pain.

Illinois: New Year, New Energy Code

You may not have noticed, but on January 1, 2016, the 2015 Illinois Energy Conservation Code became law, based on the approval from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules at the December hearing. This updated code is an amended version of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) (the latest national model code) and provides minimum energy standards for all new residential and commercial buildings.

MEEA Presents at AEA’s Multifamily Buildings Conference

MEEA successfully gave a workshop style presentation on energy data acquisition at the Affordable Energy Association’s 2015 Multifamily Buildings Conference in Brooklyn, NY on October 28-30, 2015. Together with Ellen M. Sargent, Chicago Housing Authority; and Ryan Snow, USGBC National; Steve Kismohr from MEEA brought concepts and related activities on how to engage Building Asset Managers to acquire base building information and manage energy use.

Energy Efficiency Highlighted at Illinois Renewable Energy Conference

On July 16, Illinois State University hosted the annual Illinois Renewable Energy Conference, and for the first time ever, the 2015 conference incorporated an energy efficiency track into the conference’s breakout sessions alongside wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. MEEA served on the conference planning committee and convened the three energy efficiency breakout sessions, which were focused on energy efficiency policies, case studies and technical information.

Univ. of Minnesota Students Design Ultimate Energy Efficient Home

Congratulations to the University of Minnesota’s “Team OptiMN” who won the Department of Energy’s Race to Zero Student Design Competition last month in Golden, Colorado!

The team, led by students Laurel Johnston, Peter Schneider, Cavan Wagg and Collin Coltman, bested 32 other teams from across the country in a competition to create a cost-effective home that uses little to no energy by optimizing energy efficiency and utilizing renewable resources. The team was also overseen by Professor Pat Huelman, who worked alongside MEEA on the development of Minnesota’s new building energy code.

Illinois Legislative Breakfast Shows Benefits of Efficiency for Businesses, Schools and More

On April 29, MEEA held a Legislative Breakfast event at Café Moxo in downtown Springfield, IL. The breakfast, attended by around 40 participants, including several state legislators, showcased businesses and organizations implementing energy efficiency programs, highlighting in particular the economic benefit derived directly from such programs.

Jacob Preciado, the Construction Manager at the Archdiocese of Chicago, explained that in some of their churches the boilers are over 100 years old. Because the parishes all have to self-finance these improvements with a limited budget, utility rebates were vital for making upgrades possible.