DIY: Window weatherization

fk7hi52cc3638d4a55Do your windows have drafts? Here’s one way to tackle the problem.

You can buy a window insulation kit for $15 to $25 online or at your local hardware store. It should come with double-sided tape and plastic film for covering the inside of your windows.

1) Clean the window frame with a damp cloth or rubbing alcohol.

2) Apply one layer of double-sided tape to the window frame and remove the back cover.

3) Unfold the plastic film that comes with the insulation kit. Adhere the plastic film to the tape starting at the top, move to the bottom, and then finish at the left and right sides.

4) Grab a hair dryer. Use it to shrink the film to provide a better seal around the window, and to work out wrinkles. The heat will seal the plastic and window together. Most insulation kits have multiple sheets of plastic, so you should be able to repeat the process for other windows.

Optional: For extra insulation, place bubble wrap over the window, as a first layer, and then put the plastic sheet over that. Use packing tape to connect different pieces of bubble wrap.

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General Assembly passes historic energy efficiency standards

20161203_energybill_fbOn the last day of the General Assembly’s veto session, legislators passed Senate Bill 2814, a measure that will spark lower utility bills by establishing historic energy efficiency standards for Illinois’ biggest electric utilities.

On Thursday evening, the Illinois House passed the measure, also called the “Future Energy Jobs Bill,” 63-38, and the Senate followed, with a vote of 32-18. The measure now heads to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk, and he is expected to sign it.

As with any compromise bill, CUB was not pleased with every detail. The bill will boost revenue at two nuclear power plants that owner Exelon had said were in danger of closing. However, after nearly two years of hard work in negotiations, CUB helped add major benefits to the legislation that made it a win for Illinois consumers.

Here’s why CUB supported SB 2814:

  • LOWER UTILITY BILLS

This legislation will save consumers money.  When all of the costs and benefits are added up, we estimate that SB 2814 will save ComEd customers an average of $15 annually.  That’s not a fortune, but it’s a reduction in costs – and that’s reason enough to support this bill.

How is this savings possible?  Because the bill will require Illinois utilities to dramatically increase investments in money-saving energy efficiency. By curbing the amount of power our households consume, efficiency lowers our costs. In fact, the state’s existing energy efficiency programs are the foremost reason why Illinois has the lowest electricity bills in the Midwest.  This bill will redouble those investments, yielding an estimated $4 billion in energy costs saved over its lifetime.

  • WITHOUT SB 2814, CONSUMERS WOULD FORFEIT THE SAVINGS AND STILL HAVE TO PAY HIGHER UTILITY BILLS

Without this legislation, two existing nuclear power plants in Illinois would be destined to close, eliminating about 1,500 jobs that fuel the central and western Illinois economies.  Once those plants close, consumers would pay higher prices to replace the electricity they generated – but they wouldn’t reap any of the offsetting savings unleashed by the legislation.

  • WHILE SOME OPPONENTS TALK “BAILOUT,” SB 2814 DELIVERS A PAYOUT FOR CONSUMERS

While energy efficiency is good for consumers, some big energy providers don’t like it because it shrinks their profits.  So they’ve complained that the legislation is a “bailout” for Exelon’s nuclear plants. But the fact is, even with financial assistance for the nuclear plants, this legislation will produce a net savings for consumers.

Meanwhile, if these big energy companies get their way and defeat the bill, Illinois electricity rates will increase due to the closure of the nuclear plants and consumers will lose the opportunity for even greater savings.

CUB owes a great debt to thousands of CUB Action Network members who sent messages and made phone calls to advocate for the money-saving energy efficiency standards in this bill. Your voices were a big help in securing a big win for energy efficiency and lower utility bills. Thank you!

Posted in Efficiency, electric, Electric bills, Energy, energy efficiency, Environment | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Statement by CUB Executive Director David Kolata on passage of SB 2814

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) is pleased that the Illinois General Assembly has passed Senate Bill 2814, the Future Energy Jobs Bill, and that Gov. Bruce Rauner has now signed the legislation.

This is a good day for Illinois electric customers because with this legislation the state’s biggest energy companies have agreed to historic improvements in energy efficiency standards that will reduce power bills for consumers by at least $4 billion.

As with any compromise bill, CUB is not pleased with every detail. However, after nearly two years of hard work, CUB and other consumer advocates have succeeded in our mission of negotiating a bill that is good for Illinois consumers and a big step towards a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable power grid.

The energy efficiency improvements coupled with a long-overdue repair of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will spark lower electric bills, tens of thousands of jobs and up to $15 billion in private investment. This is a win for electric customers and a win for Illinois’ economy.

We thank all parties for working together to pass a bill with strong consumer protections. We particularly wish to thank Gov. Rauner, House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Senate President John Cullerton, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, and the Illinois General Assembly. CUB thanks the Clean Jobs Coalition—including Faith in Place, Illinois Peoples’ Action, Sierra Club Illinois, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Defense Fund—for working to create strong legislation for Illinois consumers.

In conclusion, CUB owes a great debt to thousands of CUB Action Network members who sent messages and made phone calls to advocate for the money-saving energy efficiency standards in this bill. Your voices were a big help in securing a big win for energy efficiency and lower utility bills. Thank you!

Background

  • On Dec. 1, SB 2814 passed the Illinois House 63-38, and the Senate 32-18. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation on Dec. 7.
  • The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) supported the bill mainly because it raised energy efficiency standards to historic levels. It will require Illinois’ biggest electric utilities to dramatically expand investment in efficiency, and CUB estimates it will lower power bills by at least $4 billion through 2030.
Posted in Ameren, ComEd, electric, Electric bills, Energy, energy efficiency, Environment, Exelon | Tagged , | Leave a comment

CUB Action Center: Tell legislators to support SB 2814 – A bill that boosts money-saving energy efficiency

takeactionnow

Reasons to Support Senate Bill 2814

  • SB 2814 WILL LOWER UTILITY BILLS

This legislation will save consumers money.  That’s the bottom line.  CUB has combed through the bill and performed a meticulous analysis of every provision in the legislation.  When all of the costs and benefits are added up, we estimate that SB 2814 will save ComEd customers an average of $15 annually.  That’s not a fortune, but it’s a reduction in costs – and that’s reason enough to support this bill.

How is this savings possible?  Because the bill will require Illinois utilities to dramatically increase investments in money-saving energy efficiency. By curbing the amount of power our households consume, efficiency lowers our costs. In fact, the state’s existing energy efficiency programs are the foremost reason why Illinois has the lowest electricity bills in the Midwest.  This bill will redouble those investments, yielding an estimated $4 billion in energy costs saved over its lifetime.

  • WITHOUT SB 2814, CONSUMERS WOULD FORFEIT THE SAVINGS AND STILL HAVE TO PAY HIGHER UTILITY BILLS

Without this legislation, two existing power plants in Illinois would be destined to close, eliminating about 1,500 jobs that fuel the central and western Illinois economies.  Once those plants close, consumers would pay higher prices to replace the electricity they generated – but they wouldn’t reap any of the offsetting savings unleashed by the legislation.

  • WHILE SOME OPPONENTS TALK “BAILOUT,” SB 2814 DELIVERS A PAYOUT FOR CONSUMERS

While energy efficiency is good for consumers, some big energy providers don’t like it because it shrinks their profits.  So they’ve been griping about how the legislation is a “bailout” for Exelon’s nuclear plants. But the fact is, even with financial assistance for the nuclear plants, this legislation will produce a net savings for consumers.

Meanwhile, if these big energy companies get their way and defeat the bill, Illinois electricity rates will increase due to the closure of the nuclear plants and consumers will lose the opportunity for even greater savings.

How to Take Action

1) Send a message to your legislators. (We’ve sent thousands of messages, but if you haven’t taken action you should now!)

2) Call your State Sen + Rep! Click here to find them.

Script: “My name’s _____ and I’m a voter in your district. I’m calling to ask that Sen/Rep ____ push for strong energy efficiency standards for ALL of Illinois in any energy legislation in Springfield. Efficiency is crucial to lowering utility bills for seniors, families and businesses.”

3) Call the Governor:

Springfield: 2177820244

Chicago: 3128142121

Script: “My name’s _____ and I’m an Illinois voter. I’m calling to ask that Gov. Rauner push for strong energy efficiency standards for ALL of Illinois in any energy legislation in Springfield. Efficiency is crucial to lowering utility bills for seniors, families and businesses.”

Posted in ComEd, Efficiency, electric, Electric bills, Energy, energy efficiency, Exelon | Leave a comment

Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition Announces Support of Amended Future Energy Jobs Bill

clean-jobs-logo-1

Environmental and consumer advocates, energy efficiency experts, faith
leaders and clean energy businesses call for passage of amended energy bill, an important step forward to build jobs across Illinois, save customers money and act on climate.

For Immediate Release, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016

Representatives of Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC), a group of environmental groups, consumer advocates, faith leaders and clean energy businesses, today called on members of the General Assembly and Governor Rauner to act immediately on a recently-amended version of energy legislation known as the Future Energy Jobs bill. If enacted during the current veto session, they said, the bill could modernize Illinois’ energy future, creating tens of thousands of jobs, saving billions of dollars in wasted energy and cleaning up the air Illinois families breathe.

(CUB Note: Tell the General Assembly to support the Future Energy Jobs bill.)

The ICJC helped negotiate significant revisions to the original Future Energy Jobs Bill, including stripping out coal subsidies and demand charges. Participants in Tuesday’s press conference in Springfield included members of groups who had expressed reservations to the original bill.

“The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is a very diverse group of people who came together around shared priorities for Illinois’ energy future: seizing the economic benefits of the clean energy economy in a way that benefits all communities, especially our most disadvantaged; acting on climate change and promoting environmental justice; and maximizing savings for consumers while creating thousands of good paying jobs.  This coalition has changed old-school energy politics in  Illinois for the better, and we will keep working together to make clean energy an essential and growing part of Illinois’ future,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter.

In addition, scheduled speakers include representatives of key ICJC members, including Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Citizens Utility Board (CUB), Faith in Place, Elevate Energy and the U.S. Green Business Council. Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) is also expected to back the bill in addition to several wind energy companies.

The groups pointed to two key of areas of the bill that would help drive new investment in Illinois, create tens of thousands of jobs in every part of the state, lower customers’ electric bills and provide assistance to low-income communities.

The first area is an agreement to fix and expand the state’s broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). In the absence of a fully functioning RPS, clean energy businesses have lacked the predictability they need. Meanwhile other states have seized private investment and created jobs that could have come here. Last year alone, Illinois lost more than 500 jobs in the wind and solar industries combined, while dozens of other states registered significant gains in these sectors. The RPS has also been susceptible to sweeps by Illinois lawmakers, who diverted the funds.

“Right now, Illinois is missing out on millions of dollars of private investment and hundreds of jobs because our renewable energy policies are broken. States like Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas are reaping the rewards of the clean energy economy, while Illinois falls further behind,” said Andrew Barbeau, a senior clean energy consultant for EDF. “This bill finally gives wind and solar businesses a secure, predictable set of contract rules and investment flows that cannot be swept or diverted by the General Assembly. The clean energy provisions will lead to between $12 and $15 billion in additional private investment coming into the state – making the Future Energy Jobs Bill the greatest economic development plan Illinois has seen in years.”

The second critical component of the bill expands energy efficiency, the key to reducing or holding steady electric bills for all consumers. Energy efficiency has a proven track record in Illinois, saving money and putting people to work. Since energy efficiency standards were passed in 2007, customers have saved over $1 billion on their electric bills. Today, 86,000 Illinoisans work in this field, weatherizing or insulating buildings, designing efficiency measures and upgrading appliances.

Under the new legislation Illinois would again become a national leader in energy efficiency programs in the country. “There is vast untapped potential to save money, reduce pollution, create jobs, and boost Illinois’ economy by cutting energy waste—and the energy efficiency provisions in this bill hold the key. We know efficiency works—its been tested here and elsewhere. So we know it tamps down monthly electricity bills, helps us improve our homes, creates jobs and creates demand for products from Illinois manufacturers,” said Nick Magrisso, Midwest States Legislative Director, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“Illinois has among the lowest electricity rates in the Midwest in large part because we pioneered energy efficiency programs back in 2007. Its Economics 101– lower energy demand means lower energy prices. With energy efficiency programs, individual consumers can do nothing and still enjoy lower rates compared to their peers in other states. A new analysis by CUB predicts these energy efficiency provisions will net annual savings of nearly $15 – that translates into at least $4 billion in energy costs saved. That will keep Illinois a leader in affordable electricity for residential customers,” said Dave Kolata, Executive Director of Citizens Utility Board (CUB), who added that even those customers who do not participate in energy efficiency programs would benefit because it lowers market prices.

Under the bill, ComEd and Exelon would also invest over $750 million in low-income energy bill assistance and investments in jobs in communities in need, in the form of bill assistance, energy efficiency, solar and job training. “Right now, low-income communities and people of color have not shared equally in the promise of a clean energy future. Investment in programs for low-income consumers can not only provide help paying the bills, but can also lead to the new job opportunities and job training our communities so desperately need. By investing in our community, I look forward to the day where our people can not only better afford their bills and upgrade to a better paying job they can raise their families on, but we can become the entrepreneurs and build the businesses that can help deliver on these investments,” said Pastor Booker Vance, Policy Director for Faith in Place, a group focused on empowering Illinois people of all faiths to be leaders in caring for the Earth.

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Breaking: CUB throws support behind Future Energy Jobs Bill

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition–including CUB, One Northside, and Illinois People’s Action–now supports Senate Bill 2814, the Future Energy Jobs Bill, after months of hard work improving the legislation.

CUB is pleased with a provision in the bill that would push energy efficiency standards to historic levels in Illinois, helping to spark tens of thousands of jobs and at least $4 billion in consumer savings. (Tell the General Assembly you support efficiency!)

The coalition has released this statement:

“We as a coalition are firmly committed to acting on the urgent need to create thousands of clean jobs and spur needed investment in the state, cut energy bills for consumers and respond to the growing threats of climate change. We are especially pleased to have found common ground with ComEd and Exelon to fund at least $750 million in investments in low-income communities, finally fix the state’s broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to spur private capital investments in wind and solar projects, and boldly expand energy efficiency standards, a key reason Illinois has the lowest electric rates in the Midwest.

“As with any compromise bill, our coalition is not pleased with every detail. But we are united in the belief that Illinois urgently needs to modernize our energy policy so we stop losing clean energy jobs and other benefits to more innovative states. We believe this bill can be a strong step toward our goals of creating thousands more clean jobs, cutting electric bills and cleaning the air we all breathe. We urge the General Assembly and Gov. Rauner to pass and support the Future Energy Jobs Bill during the veto session.”

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Take action to fight for energy efficiency

CUB’s working overtime in November, because we owe it to you to try to make history in Springfield.

Here’s an update:

  • This week, the General Assembly could vote on major energy legislation in the Veto Session.
  • The legislation has historic energy efficiency standards to reduce electricity waste by more than 20% and spark at least $4 billion in lower power bills.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates the bill would yield $3 in consumer savings for every dollar spent.

Here’s the problem:

Some big energy interests are working overtime to KILL these efficiency benefits–and they could win. (They hate efficiency because it eats into their bottom lines.)

Here’s what YOU can do:

CUB urges everyone to take these 3 actions. Let’s make Illinois a national leader in money-saving efficiency benefits.

1) Send a message to your legislators. (We’ve sent thousands of messages, but if you haven’t taken action you should now!)

2) Call your State Sen + Rep! Click here to find them.

Script: “My name’s _____ and I’m a voter in your district. I’m calling to ask that Sen/Rep ____ push for strong energy efficiency standards for ALL of Illinois in any energy legislation in Springfield. Efficiency is crucial to lowering utility bills for seniors, families and businesses.”

3) Call the Governor:

Springfield: 2177820244

Chicago: 3128142121

Script: “My name’s _____ and I’m an Illinois voter. I’m calling to ask that Gov. Rauner push for strong energy efficiency standards for ALL of Illinois in any energy legislation in Springfield. Efficiency is crucial to lowering utility bills for seniors, families and businesses.”

Posted in energy efficiency | Tagged , | Leave a comment