Retrofit Chicago

By Aeizha Moira Sarinas for SUST 210*

Retrofit Chicago is a program that cuts energy costs in Chicago’s commercial and residential areas, respectively. One of the targets of the programs is residential areas and small communities that would benefit from saving money and being more energy-efficient at the same time. According to a 2012 article from the Chicago Tribune, “Energy Retrofit Program Goes Residential,” the program would include programmable thermostats, high-efficiency light bulbs, and low-flow showerheads. Furthermore, the program is ready and available for all residents, whether they be owner-occupants or investors. Alongside freebies such as thermostats and showerheads, residents may also be eligible for rebates.

The idea of the Retrofit Chicago Program may seem at first glance to be a pipedream. However, with a focus on benefitting residents, the program becomes more encouraging and inviting than the typical approach through mere advertisements, which often appear to be forced or superficial. Nowadays, we tend to be more skeptical of money-saving offers because almost everything turns out to be some “profitable” program rather than sustainable or environmentally beneficial.

The Daily Herald also published a June 2012 article about the Retrofit Chicago Program, “Private Buildings Join Chicago Retrofitting Effort.” According to this article, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that there were 14 buildings with total of 14 million square feet that have signed on to the program, which would save them roughly 5 million dollars. Furthermore, this idea that started with a $225 million budget should eventually create a savings of $20 million dollars a year in reduced energy costs.

I think information such as these articles that focus on energy-efficient programs should be spread through social media and any other way possible. Moreover, it should be advertised widely so that they can increase everyone’s awareness. Let’s admit it, most people do not just randomly decide to research such programs that would provide energy sufficient light bulbs until it’s pointed out to them — and even then they might not.

Submitted 12 Apr 2013

* Each week during the Spring 2013 semester, two to three students in the SUST 210 Sustainable Future online/Schaumburg class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.

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About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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