FAQs: Public sector custom incentives

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about custom incentives and project eligibility. If you can’t find the answer to your question, or would like to talk to an energySMART representative, email us or call 312.344.1569.


What is a public sector facility?

A property which is controlled or owned by the government and is funded through taxation. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • K-12 public schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Hospitals and health clinics
  • Local, state, or federal government buildings
  • Airports
  • Libraries

How do I know if I am eligible for custom incentives?

All custom projects must be installed at the site of a current Nicor Gas customer on any rate class except rate 1. Self-directed customers are not eligible for energySMART offerings. Custom incentives are limited to projects that are not eligible for rebates.

I’ve already received rebates for other products and/or equipment in my facility. Am I still eligible for custom incentives?

Public sector customers are eligible to receive custom incentives in addition to rebates as long as you do not receive two incentives for the same measure, and the total custom incentive received per facility/site does not exceed $350,000 or 35% of the total project cost.

What projects are ineligible for custom incentives?

Eligibility is at the sole discretion of energySMART. Projects that are NOT eligible for an incentive include the following:

  • Changes in operational and/or maintenance practices or simple control modifications not involving capital costs
  • Projects that involve peak-shifting (and not therm savings)
  • Renewable energy projects
  • Projects with expected simple payback of less than one year
  • Programmable thermostats that are eligible for rebates through energySMART
  • Any project or equipment eligible for rebates through energySMART

My project will not be installed and operational by December 31, 2019. Am I still able to receive an incentive?

Projects must be installed and fully operational prior to December 31, 2019 and prior to submitting the final application, and the final application must be received within 30 days, or by January 31, 2020, whichever comes first. Please contact energySMART if your project will not be installed and operational by December 31, 2019 – a new program year will likely begin on January 1, 2020, and your project may be allowed to roll over into the new year if funding available. However, funding after December 31, 2019 is not guaranteed, and energySMART will work with you to transition your project if a new program is available.

I purchase my natural gas through a third party provider. Am I eligible for custom incentives?

Customers purchasing natural gas through a third party are eligible as long as the natural gas is delivered by Nicor Gas and the customer can provide a valid Nicor Gas account number.


I am a contractor or employee of the applying public sector facility. Am I able to apply on behalf of the Nicor Gas Customer/Account Holder?

Those granted authority by the Nicor Gas Customer/Account Holder may submit the pre-approval application on behalf of the customer/account holder. However, the Nicor Gas Customer/Account Holder must complete the program influence questionnaire in section 6 of the application and the required signature in section 8 of the Pre-Approval Application. The signature on the final application must also belong to the Nicor Gas Customer/Account Holder.

How do I estimate natural gas savings for my project?

Gas savings calculations are recommended, but not required, in order to submit an application for consideration.

Calculations should be supplied in electronic format. Applicants must use industry-accepted engineering algorithms, simulation models and measurement procedures from recognized technical organizations and rating agencies to estimate natural gas savings (i.e. ASHRAE, ANSI, SMACNA, ARI, ASTM, etc.). Applicants must submit documentation of sources used with the pre-approval application and final application, including clearly describing any assumptions made during calculations.

Applicants must estimate the annual natural gas usage of both existing and proposed equipment based on the current operation of the facility. For assistance in completing the please contact energySMART.

What documentation do I need to submit with my application?

  • Pre-approval application
  • Cut sheet/manufacturer specification sheet
  • Gas savings calculations (recommended but not required)
  • Project proposal