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Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation Announces $2.1 Million in Grants

Submitted by: Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Jan 22, 2002 – 11:00 PM EST

 

Twenty-Eight Nonprofit Organizations and Local Governments Across Illinois Receive Funds

Jan. 22 /CSRwire/ - At a press conference today, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) awarded its first-ever round of grants to 28 organizations around the state. The grants total $2.1 million and concentrate on integrating state-of-the-art energy efficiency into new and rehabilitated buildings and on using the cost savings from energy efficiency investments to promote economic development.

Peter P. Peters, Chairman of the ICECF Board of Trustees, describes the goal of these grants as "climbing a ladder. Every step to a higher level of efficiency saves energy, leading to lower costs for consumers, increased economic growth and reduced pollution in our communities."

John W. Rowe, co-CEO and President of Exelon Corporation, Commonwealth Edison's parent company, attended the grant announcement and said, "The ICECF vision is to support energy efficiency, develop renewable energy resources and preserve natural areas and wildlife habitats. It's exciting to see that vision come to life in these first grants and for Exelon Corporation to be a part of it."

The ICECF, an independent nonprofit organization, received its $225 million endowment from Commonwealth Edison.

The twenty-eight ICECF grants are being awarded to nonprofit organizations and local governments. Many of these grants will provide for the design of energy efficient public buildings, from police stations to nature centers and from schools to affordable housing developments. Other grants will support the use of energy efficiency as an economic development tool for downtown revitalization and job creation and retention.

"In this first grant cycle, we chose projects that advance the energy efficiency aspect of our threefold mission," stated Mr. Peters. "Each of the projects incorporates energy efficiency into innovative efforts that serve its community and we are proud to be funding these worthy projects."

The grants awarded today respond to overwhelming public support for improving energy efficiency in public buildings. Among participants in a statewide poll last summer: 75 percent said it is extremely or very important for state and local governments to make new and existing buildings energy efficient; 84 percent favored requiring energy efficient designs for all government-funded construction projects; and 76 percent called for changing local building codes to require new and remodeled homes and businesses to be energy efficient. In this same poll, 84 percent cited the benefits to their communities of businesses and manufacturing plants investing more in clean energy technologies. The ICECF commissioned the poll to benchmark Illinois residents' attitudes on energy issues prior to making its first grants.

The ICECF is backing up its grant program with an initiative to work with Illinois municipalities to capture the momentum for energy efficiency. "The Foundation recently sponsored energy efficient building workshops in Normal and Rockford," explained Bob Romo, the ICECF's Program Officer for this effort. "We are partnering with a growing number of cities and towns across the state as they work to adopt energy efficiency building codes."

Reactions of Grant Recipients

Following are examples of what ICECF grant recipients had to say about what this funding means to their communities:

"With this grant, we will be able to build some of the most energy efficient homes in Illinois," said Elizabeth Reyes, Executive Director of Claretian Associates in Chicago. "Not only does this set our homes apart from others on the market, it allows us to bring energy efficiency to neighborhoods that do not traditionally see this type of development."

"We're proud to be recognized by the ICECF for our initiative to use energy efficiency as a new tool in our economic development effort to retain and add jobs in the communities we work with," said Kimberly Pierce, Executive Director of Macomb Area Industrial Development Corporation. "We believe that our program can serve as a prototype for others of what can be achieved through innovative use of energy efficiency to improve both our local economy and our environment."

"This support from the ICECF will enable us to continue and expand our efforts to get energy efficiency information and assistance to local businesses and community residents," said Champaign Downtown Association President Andrew Timms. "We hope other Illinois communities will benefit from our experience with this project that combines community outreach, public school involvement, downtown economic development and the preservation and re-use of historic buildings."

"With the help of funding from the ICECF, our newest building will meet U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements for energy efficiency and sustainable design," explained Jean Butzen, President of Lakefront SRO in Chicago.

"The Village of Villa Park appreciates the support of the ICECF in helping us to develop a highly energy efficient police station for our community which we hope will serve as a model for both other municipal structures and commercial buildings in our area," said Village President Rae Rupp Srch. "Better building techniques and codes are necessary to enhance our environment, protect our energy resources, and build better work conditions for our employees."

Carol Timms, director of EnergyNet, an organization that works with schools statewide, said,"We are excited about the opportunity to use this grant from the ICECF to develop two new EnergyNet projects: Energy Engineers - enabling students to apply their knowledge of energy efficiency to evaluating new school construction proposed for their districts - and Community Energy Consultants - assisting students to identify opportunities that other organizations and businesses in their communities have to increase energy efficiency."

"We believe this project can serve as a prototype of what can be achieved by community-based organizations and small businesses in Illinois," said Rey B. Gonzalez, Chairman of El Valor. "With this ICECF grant, we can bring a much needed family center to the Little Village/South Lawndale community of Chicago and enhance our environment by designing our building to be very energy efficient."

About the $2.1 Million in Grants Awarded Today

About the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

The ICECF is an independent, nonprofit grantmaking organization that supports clean energy development and land conservation efforts, working with communities and citizens to improve environmental quality in Illinois.

This spring, the ICECF will follow up its energy efficiency grants by awarding its first grants focused on the other two aspects of its mission: expanding development of renewable energy resources in Illinois and conserving natural habitats and wildlife areas in the state.

Additional information about the ICECF and its programs and the results of its statewide poll of Illinois residents' attitudes about energy issues can be found at www.illinoiscleanenergy.org.

For more information, please contact:

James Mann Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
Phone: (312) 372-5191

 

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