Public Green Category: Energy

Energy Bill Assistance

Mount Prospect and Des Plaines residents who need help with their energy bill costs are invited to a fair on Saturday (April 19) from 9 a.m.  -1 p.m. at Mount Prospect Public Library (10 S. Emerson St.)  Participants can apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and other programs sponsored by the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, ComEd, and Nicor Gas. Mount Prospect residents can register by calling 847/870-5680 or by emailing Des Plaines residents should call 847/391-5480 or email

Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit

Now that the weather is starting to change, it’s the perfect time to do your own energy audit and get your home ready for winter.  As much as one-third of the energy you use to heat your home may be slipping through windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other cracks.  Check out one of the Minitemp Noncontact Thermometers that use infrared technology to measure the surface temperature in areas of your home.  Just “point and shoot” at the exterior of your home and you can literally see where the heat is leaking out of your home! The Minitemp Noncontact Thermometers are kept at the Reference Desk and can be checked out for one week.

ECOtality offers Free Electric Vehicle Residential Wall Mount Chargers

Earlier this month, ECOtality, a clean electric transportation and storage technology company, announced that it was partnering with ComEd to give a free residential Blink wall mount charger as well as an installation credit up to $400 to qualified Chicago-area residents who have taken ownership of a Nissan LEAF or Chevy Volt.  In exchange for receiving the charger and installation credit, residents are expected to participate in the EV Project, which shares data about both the vehicle and charging units (energy used, time, and duration of charger use).  No personal information is shared or included in the data.  To learn more about the EV Project program and see if you qualify go to

Energy Impact Illinois Program

The Energy Impact Illinois Program, in conjunction with your local utility, offers energy efficiency rebates to residents and businesses to help lower their energy bills.  In fact, if you are a residential customer, you may qualify for rebates up to $1,750 for air sealing and building insulation installation. Commercial, industrial, and multifamily complexes can receive incentives based on performance and energy efficiency savings.  Go to and use the “Find Energy Savings Actions” tool to see all the programs you qualify for based on your location and home or business type.  You can also call 1-855-9-IMPACT (toll-free) to learn more about the program OR set up an appointment to schedule an energy assessment (cost $99).  They are open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm.

Green Tips for Air Conditioning Use

Summer 2012 in Chicagoland may be one of the hottest on record. Here’s some ideas to save money and energy when using your air conditioning at home:
1.Keep the filter clean. Clean/replace the filter monthly as dirty filters can inhibit air flow and force the unit to run longer.
2.Have your air conditioner regularly maintained to keep it running efficiently.
3.Keep your thermostat at 78 degrees when you are at home and 85 otherwise.
4.Install a programmable thermostat so the unit can begin cooling your home a half-hour before you return.
5.Shade your air conditioner and save up to 10% in energy usage.

For more see: Green Tips for a Cool Summer

Is your screen saver really saving energy?

Many of us routinely use screen savers thinking we are doing a good thing not only to save energy but to save the life of our computer monitors as well.  According to  this is not necessarily true.  Screen savers are often filled with graphics which may cause your computer to burn twice the energy. The screen saver also can prevent the computer from going into “sleep” mode.  Initially, screen savers were developed to prevent permanent etching of patterns on monitors but are no longer necessary due to technological advances and now are for entertainment only.

A website called offers an alternative.  They suggest that you turn on the power management feature that is already an option in most computers.  This will enable your monitor to turn off automatically, or, after a period of inactivity it will put it into a sleep mode.  For a PDF with step-by-step instructions go to:

Kill A Watt Meters

The Mount Prospect Public Library is now offering Kill A Watt Meters for checkout at the Reference Desk on the second floor. These devices can be used to monitor the electricity consumed by household appliances and electronics on a daily basis. ComEd provided 2 of these meters to the library. Please ask for assistance at the Reference Desk. Loan periods are for one week.

Winterize Your Home

As the seasons begin to change your family migrates indoors for the winter, a lot of energy can be wasted to keep your family and your home comfortable. Between 40 and 70% of all home energy is wasted, but we could save about half of that by buying efficient appliances and taking energy-saving measures.

Cover your air conditioner: If you can’t remove your window unit, consider covering it both inside and out. Besides protecting your air-conditioning unit, these covers also help keep cold air from entering your home through the space around the air-conditioner and can be a great way to lower utility bills.

Caulk it: Small spaces and gaps around windows and pipes and wires entering the home create create energy wasting drafts that can cut the efficiency of your heating system. Most caulking products cost under $10; rope caulk, one of the easiest types to apply, sells for about
$4 for 40 or 50 feet.

Block drafts: Draft blockers are foam plates that fit behind light switches and electrical outlets to reduce drafts that enter through those spaces. You can get a packet of 10 for about $3 and they’re easy to install with just a screwdriver.

Upgrade your thermostat: Changing your thermostat to a programmable one allows you to control the temperature in your home at different times of the day without you being home. Keep the heat off when you’re out of the house and set it to turn back up before you get home. Some also have a second set of settings for weekends, when people usually spend more time at home. The thermostats range from $90 to $175, but can save 12% or more on your energy bill and pay for itself within three years.