Home Grown

Housing program

Energy Efficiency Programs

Oak Park

Goal

To support the village’s diverse housing stock through a range of programs that address local and regional sustainability, provide cost savings for homeowners and reduce environmental impact.

Target

Single-family, multifamily, and condominium homeowners

Financing

Various local, state, and federal funding sources

Successes

  • Provided energy retrofits for 28 multifamily units through a partnership with Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
  • Issued hundreds of energy and water saving rebates as a part of two grants through the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation

Lessons learned

Education is required to change preconceptions of the effectiveness of common conservation measures.

Program background

Oak Park has proven itself as a regional leader in sustainability practices, championing initiatives that increase energy and water efficiency for its residents. Over the past several years, the Village has partnered with local community organizations, foundations and government to implement a wide range of programs that support a diverse and aging housing stock.

How it works

Multiunit Retrofit Improvement Loan Program (MURIL)

In the fall of 2011, Oak Park began a two-year pilot under the MURIL program, which was part of a larger grant through the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE). The goal of the program was to offer additional funding for energy efficiency initiatives to municipalities that were already engaging in housing rehabilitation work using HOME and/or Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Under the DOE grant requirements, any activity performed had to achieve an overall 15 percent savings for the property. The funds were channeled through Energy Impact Illinois (EI2), an alliance of government organizations, nonprofits and utility companies led by CMAP. The Village formalized their relationship with CMAP and became the local area administrator, completing their first two retrofits in December 2011.

Over the course of the program, Oak Park was awarded $150,000 in funds for energy retrofits. The Village did substantial outreach to eligible buildings through newsletters, workshops, meetings and direct mailings. However, due to multiple challenges that made it more difficult to attract building owners to the program, the Village was unable to spend down all of the funds. By the end of the program, the Village had utilized $62,500 in loans, retrofitting 28 units in nine different buildings across the Village.

Energy and water efficiency rebates

Primarily funded by the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, the Village offers rebates to single-family and condominium homeowners for products such as low-flow toilets, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. Oak Park has also allocated funds in the Village’s budget to provide support for the program. The Village is currently in their second year of partnership with the Foundation, and was able to provide the following to Oak Park residents for the first program year:

  • 100 rebates to install low-flow toilets
  • 50 rebates to conduct energy audits
  • 300 water saver kits

Smart City USA

In partnership with the Korean Smart Grid Institute (KSGI), Oak Park was selected for a pilot project in 2012 that focuses on determining the effectiveness of smart-grid technology. Oak Park was seen as an attractive candidate for the program, partly as a result of their collaboration with ComEd on the installation of smart meters throughout the Village. During the course of the pilot project, as many as 200 single-family and multifamily homes will have the opportunity to test innovative efforts in solar power and energy storage.

Selected participants will have solar panels installed on their homes that will collect and store energy in batteries. This accumulated energy will be for personal use or sold back to the grid during peak times. The program will give the Village an opportunity to forge unique relationships with KSGI and other educational and research institutions at the forefront of smart-grid technology and energy efficiency advancement.

Village staff will play a convening role, working with homeowners (renters are not eligible for the program) to find who may meet the qualifying criteria. The Village will also help manage and administer the two-year pilot project.

Contact

Department of Community Development, Village of Oak Park
708-358-5410, housing@oak-park.us, www.oak-park.us

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
P 312 922 5616 F 312 922 5619 info@metroplanning.org
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