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Illinois Country Living

Jonathan Feipel

Jonathan Feipel (left), Deputy Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which oversees the state’s Energy Office, met with Marcelyn Love, Communications Manager for DCEO, and John Freitag, Vice President of Operations for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives on Friday, May 7, to announce a new $1.5 million HomE energy efficiency rebate program for electric co-op members. Members will be eligible for up to $1,500 in rebates for home energy improvements. For more information contact your local electric cooperative or go to


Help is here for your home’s energy efficiency
Co-op members eligible for up to $1,500 for efficiency improvements

The State of Illinois announced a $1.5 million grant to assist the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) and its member cooperatives in implementing a new energy efficiency initiative. Through the new electric cooperative HomE program, participating co-op members will receive incentives of up to $1,500 for equipment upgrades and other measures to reduce their energy consumption.

“The state’s investment in energy efficiency programs like HomE reinforces our commitment to building a stronger, and greener, economy in Illinois,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “Through this program, we’re demonstrating how environmental protection and economic development go hand-in-hand by creating jobs, improving our energy consumption and saving money for hard-working Illinois families.”

Through the HomE program, electric cooperatives can make rebates for members who own their homes and make qualifying energy efficiency upgrades. Members must start the process by having an energy assessment done by their local electric cooperative. There will be a small $25 fee to partially cover the cost of the assessment. Based on the recommendations from the assessment, the member will be eligible for rebates for heating-cooling upgrades, installation of a heat pump water heater or insulation and weatherization.

“The electric cooperatives of Illinois are heavily invested in energy efficiency education and incentives for their member-owners. The HomE program is a great asset to that effort and should provide an excellent incentive for cooperative members to make these improvements right away, improving the energy efficiency of thousands of homes,” said N. Duane Noland, president and CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives.

Noland said 98 percent of co-op members are residential or farmers. He said this program, while not intended for low-income families, is a plus for those on fixed or marginal incomes.

“Co-op members who qualify for low-income weatherization programs are eligible for incentive programs available through the Illinois community action agencies in each county,” said John Freitag, Vice President of Operations for the AIEC. “This program is just for those co-op members who do not qualify for low-income weatherization programs. In other words it reaches out to help middle-income families. improve their energy efficiency.”

The grant was awarded through a component of the state’s Energy Plan, administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Program (ARRA).

Jonathan Feipel, Deputy Director of the Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which oversees the state’s Energy Office, addressed electric cooperative employees who will oversee the program locally at a May 7 kickoff meeting in Springfield. “This is one of the programs we wanted to benefit right off the bat,” Feipel said, explaining later that the $1.5 million to be distributed to qualifying co-op members comes from the $100 million allocation to the state of Illinois in what is called the State Energy Program by the federal government.

The program has the ability to help the economy in two ways, Feipel said. He said “green stuff” as it was originally termed was thought by many to cost people money.

“Actually, the reverse is true,” Feipel said. First of all, families that invest in energy efficiency improvements get lower energy bills. Then the “broadening of the dollars” results because those families tend to buy more groceries or go to the movies or any number of other things with the money saved. Generally that money is spent locally, Feipel said.

Another benefit of the program is to the labor market. In exchange for the money, there is an accountability requirement by the distributing agency. It must estimate the number of jobs created or retained.

Feipel said the state is expected to report back to the federal government by September that dollars have been spent. The AIEC expects money allocated to it to go quickly. By proving that it can be effective in distributing the grant money, it hopes to improve its chances for getting additional money in the future.

Freitag said that combining the HomE grants with federal income tax credits, manufacturer incentives and incentives from local electric co-ops, makes investing in energy efficiency right now a “no-brainer.”

But he warned, “Even though we have $1.5 million to work with, that money could go fast. We’ve already seen that happen with other new energy efficiency grant programs. The rebates will be available until funds are exhausted.”

For more information on the program, including eligibility details, contact your local electric cooperative or visit the Illinois Electric Cooperatives website at

HomE Energy Rebates

Geothermal heat pumps


Air-source heat pumps


Central air conditioning


Natural gas or LP furnace


Heat pump water heater


Insulation/air sealing

30% of project
costs, Maximum $500

Total household rebate $1,500 maximum

Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements

Geothermal closed loop

14.1 EER or 3.3 COP

Geothermal open loop

16.2 EER or 3.6 COP

Air-source heat pump


Central air conditioning, split


Central air conditioning, package


Natural gas or LP furnace

95% efficiency

Heat pump water heater

2.0 energy factor


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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