Energy Efficiency


WEATHERIZE: Add insulation and air sealing

lower costs | increase comfort | cut carbon


Weatherize your home or business:

  • Waste less money on utility bills
  • Increase your comfort
  • Be green: lowers carbon emissions

The City of Evanston and local not-for-profits (Citizens’ Greener Evanston and Elevate Energy) have teamed up to make the process as easy as possible with:

  • Energy assessments and demonstrations
  • Tailored recommendations
  • No commitments

For more information or to get started, email Neither Citizens’ Greener Evanston nor Elevate Energy receives income or fees from this program.

Citizens for Greener Evanston – Retrofits testimonials from Citizens for Greener Evanston on Vimeo.

Attend a House Party to learn more. Or Host a House Party and Get a Free Assessment or Demonstration. Attending a house party is a great way to see first-hand what’s involved in weatherizing a home. Even better, if you host a house party you receive an energy assessment or demonstration free of charge! Ideally, 5-10 homeowners should attend (couples are considered a single homeowner). At the party, CGE will describe energy assessments, demonstrate why your home is drafty, and explain why and how to weatherize your home. Guests see the blower door and infrared camera and learn how to reduce drafts. Hosts may tour the house with CGE, showing guests potential energy savings in the host’s home.

Energy assessments are available for homeowners who will arrange a professional retrofit. Energy demonstrations are available for homeowners who plan to do the work themselves or with a contractor not certified by Elevate Energy.

Please let us know if you would be interested in hosting a house party — or if you would like to attend one. Email for more information. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Does Weatherizing Mean?
  2. What is an Energy Assessment?
  3. What is the Program for Homeowners?
  4. What is the Program for Businesses?
  5. What is Citizens’ Greener Evanston?
  6. What is Elevate Energy?
  7. Where Can I Find Additional Resources?

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What Does Weatherizing Mean?

‘Weatherizing’ means reducing the airflow through your house by adding insulation and air sealing drafty spaces around your building. Less cold air comes in during winter and less hot air comes in during summer.


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What is an Energy Assessment?

For Elevate Energy assessments of homes, apartments and nonprofits, a pre-vetted, certified energy auditor has multiple techniques to identify problem areas. Depending upon the size and configuration of the building, an auditor might perform the following steps:

  • assess your home for drafts
  • test your furnace and other big appliances
  • check for heat loss off pipes
  • use an infrared camera to help identify low insulation in walls.
  • use a blower door to simulate wind and help identify leaks in the building envelope

You will receive a report recommending the most cost-effective improvements for your house, including details of available rebates, grants, loans and other financing options. After completing the agreed-upon improvements, an ‘exit’ audit will show how effective your improvements have been.

Citizens’ Greener Evanston President, Eleanor Revelle, talks to Medill Reports on all the steps she and her husband took in building their green home. An Energy Assessment is the first step to seeing where you can improve your own energy efficiency.

Financial benefits of making your home green from Medill Reports on Vimeo.

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What is the Program for Homeowners?

Elevate Energy arranges:

  • A low-cost ($99) home energy assessment. The audit is free for those helping spread the word by hosting a house party for friends and neighbors to learn about this weatherization program.
  • Access to a vetted group of certified contractors, with oversight and follow up.
  • Tailored recommendations of the most cost-effective solutions. (You are not obliged to have any of the work done; if and when is totally up to you.)
  • All available rebates applied. (No extra paperwork!)
  • If the improvements result in a reduction in energy use of 15% or more, you can receive an ENERGY STAR rating for your house.  Increase the resale speed and value of your home with an ENERGY STAR rating.


For Rental Apartment and Condominium Buildings
Free energy assessments are available for rental apartment and condominium buildings. Email for more information.

How Much Does it Cost?

Often the most effective steps are very basic and inexpensive. The most cost-effective approaches involve plugging drafts throughout a home – not expensive window replacements. Through various rebate programs, we can help cut costs. Complete single-family weatherization might cost between $2,000 and $4,000, some of which can be covered through rebates. The improvements will result in a $400 and $600 annual reduction in one’s energy bills.

With rebates, the return on investment is dramatic!

For multifamily, nonprofits and commercial buildings, loans and grants may be available.

House party hosts receive their energy audit free of charge! Valued at $400, this service costs $99 without a house party. Email for details.

How Long Does it Take?

Most energy audits and house parties can take place within two weeks of deciding to go ahead.  Scheduling retrofits to implement the audit recommendations depends on the schedule of the building owner and the contractor.  Most work can be done within a few weeks.

What to Expect as a House Party Host

You will receive help from CGE in planning your party. Your pre-vetted, certified energy auditor arrives in advance of the party to perform your home assessment. Representatives from CGE and Elevate Energy and your energy auditor are there when your guests arrive to educate your guests about the energy assessment and this program. Areas of greatest concern are highlighted around house, and the energy auditor demonstrates the infrared camera and blower door tests and explains why they are useful.

House party hosts receive their energy audit free of charge! Valued at $400, this service costs $99 without a house party. Email for details.

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Businesses and Non-Profits

For Commercial Buildings

Free energy assessments, including professional installation of free energy-saving products, are available to Nicor Gas business customers through its energySMART program. The utility also offers cash rebates for high-efficiency equipment, energy-efficiency loans, and building optimization services to help commercial and industrial facilities improve existing systems to maximize efficiency. Visit the energySMART webpages for details.

ComEd also offers a variety of programs and incentives to help businesses reduce their electrical energy use and improve their bottom line. Visit ComEd’s Smart Ideas webpages for details.

For Retirement Homes, Preschools, Places of Worship and Nonprofits

We work with Elevate Energy to arrange:

  • A free building energy assessment,
  • Help selecting qualified contractors, reviewing bids, monitoring installation and ensuring quality control.
  • Tailored recommendations of the most cost-effective solutions. (You are not obliged to have any of the work done; if and when is totally up to you.)
  • Help identifying and pursuing rebates, grants and below-market rate financing.
  • The most efficient buildings after improvements receive an ENERGY STAR rating, increasing their resale speed and value.

Contact us at to find the right solution for your needs.

What is Citizens’ Greener Evanston?

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed in 2011, CGE works in collaboration with local governments and other nonprofits to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhance community sustainability.  CGE has an engaged board of directors and about 1,500 members, who advocate and provide community education through presentations, printed materials and CGE’s website.  Recent key successes:

  • Working with the City of Evanston Sustainable Programs Coordinator and community stakeholders, CGE developed a Livability Plan to reduce Evanston GHG emissions 20% by 2016 (relative to a 2005 baseline).  The Evanston City Council embraced the goal and the plan in May 2014. See
  • Working with Elevate Energy, CGE helped develop and implement the Evanston/Oak Park Community Challenge, sponsored by Nicor Gas. The program resulted in energy-saving retrofits for 67 homes and raised $23,500 for energy upgrades for our YWCA.
  • CGE initiated the Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act. Signed into law, the legislation moves one step closer to the development of offshore wind energy by calling for the creation of an offshore wind energy siting matrix to identify areas in the lake that are suitable and unsuitable for wind energy projects.

What is Elevate Energy?

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A 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed in 2000 by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), Elevate upgrades single and multi-family homes, businesses, houses of worship and others with quality efficiency retrofits.  In addition, it administers Illinois’ residential hourly electric pricing programs that it helped create, works with utilities to develop another innovative rate option—peak time rebate—and focuses at the community-wide level to bring efficiency to scale. It administers Energy Impact Illinois, a regional initiative of utilities, governmental entities, and nonprofit organizations working to create a self-sustaining efficiency marketplace. Elevate partners with a vetted group of contractors to maximize energy efficiency gains, helps the City of Chicago implement its energy benchmarking ordinance, and collaborates with the real estate community to value energy efficiency upgrades at the point of home sale/purchase.

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Where Can I Find Additional Resources?

Guide To Hosting a House Party

Single Family Weatherization Case Study | Evanston, IL | January 2015

Elevate Energy Example Report

Non-Energy Benefits of Energy Efficiency Building Improvements

Energy Efficiency Success Story 6731 S. Jeffery Blvd., Chicago, IL

Energy Savers Loan for Apartment Building Owners

Neighborhood Investor Lending Program Fact Sheet

Houses of Worship | Full-Service Energy Efficiency Services for Building Owners

Childcare Centers | Full-Service Energy and Water Efficiency Services for Building Owners

Commercial and Multifamily Rebates 10-2014

SEDAC At a Glance

SEDAC Sample Report

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips for Condominiums

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips for Convenience Stores

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips for Supermarkets

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips for Warehouses

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips for Schools

SEDAC Energy Smart Tips for Places of Worship

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