City offers incentives for residential buildings to "go green"

August 7, 2012

Quinn Ford

Chicago homeowners and landlords are getting a little extra incentive to “go green.”

City officials are rolling out the latest phase of a program called Retrofit Chicago -- the first official project of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s infrastructure trust.

The city is targeting communities with old residential buildings that can be modernized to bring down energy costs. One of those communities is located in Ald. Sandi Jackson’s South Side ward. Jackson, who represents the city’s 7th ward, says many residents there pay steep energy bills because the buildings are so old.

“In the winter, we tend to spend more money heating our units. In the summer, we tend to spend more money cooling our units. And so to make them more energy efficient not only helps the owners of the buildings, but it also helps the residents."

The program offers residential building owners perks like free energy audits and low-interest loans to help weatherize their buildings.

In addition to the South Shore community in Jackson’s ward, city officials say they will also focus first on Auburn Gresham, Austin, Avalon Park, Beverly, Chatham, Edgewater, Lincoln Square, Logan Square, Mount Greenwood, Rogers Park and West Ridge. Officials say those areas were selected because they have a high concentration of apartments and single family homes with poor energy efficiency.