ComEd approached MEEA in the spring of 2005 to create a program targeting low-income customers who could qualify to receive a free ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioner in exchange for an older, operational unit. MEEA and ComEd partnered with local community groups, maximizing efforts for these events.
MEEA collected and exchanged units at several turn-in events in targeted neighborhoods throughout ComEd's territory. For each turn-in event, ComEd identified areas in their service territory to offer the program to a random selection of their LIHEAP-eligible customers. These customers were sent a letter describing the promotion and were invited to call in and reserve a new AC unit at the nearest exchange location. The old units that were collected through the program were disassembled and recycled, permanently removing them from ComEd's electric load.
Given the success of the 2005 program, it was expanded in 2006 with five events in ComEd's service territory that delivered an additional 1,250 new ENERGY STAR® units across northern Illinois.
Room AC Recycling Program Impacts
By removing inefficient air conditioners and introducing new units, the Room AC program saved energy and reduced pollution released into the environment.
In 2005, more than 800 units turned in, with over 600,000 kWhs saved over the lifetime of the units. 2005 Final Report
In 2006, approximately 1,200 units turned in, saving 3.2 million kWhs over the lifetime of the units. 2006 Final Report
Room AC Program Expansion
MEEA's Room AC program was very successful and we are presently discussing a potential re-launch in 2010 with new sponsors. Additional MEEA partners who are interested in participating can yield increased purchasing power and support from retail partners. The program can be adapted to fit the needs and goals of each unique sponsor.
Replacing old, inefficient air conditioners with newer units saves a significant amount of energy throughout the life of the appliance. To find out how you can participate in the Room AC program and expand energy savings regionally, please email Aimee Skrzekut, Director of Programs.