August 2015 Build Smart Newsletter

Welcome to the second edition of the Build Smart newsletter, brought to you by the Nicor Gas and ComEd® Residential New Construction Service. This quarterly communication is designed to update our builder partners on current services, provide insight into the new construction energy efficiency industry, and serve as a resource to assist you in achieving above-code levels of efficiency for your homes.

Get listed on the Nicor Gas Contractor Circle “Find a Contractor” tool

Home buyers looking for a builder who participates in the Nicor Gas and ComEd Residential New Construction Service can easily find them on our online Find a Contractor tool. This is a great way to become more visible to homebuyers and establish a reputation as a builder committed to constructing energy-efficient homes. Sign up to become a Contractor Circle member today, membership is free!

Other benefits of becoming a Contractor Circle member include: 
  • Communications and updates: Be the first to learn about updates and exclusive offerings.
  • Contractor Circle member portal: Includes access to the participation dashboard to view your company’s metrics (coming soon!) and access to a marketing portal to order free print materials.
  • Logo use and co-branding opportunities: As a Contractor Circle member, you can brand your website and marketing materials with the energySMART Contractor Circle member logo and Nicor Gas name.
  • Training: Access to energySMART-sponsored trainings and webinars on a variety of technical, business, sales and related topics.

Don’t miss out on the chance to increase your visibility and increase sales. Become a Contractor Circle member using our online form today! It’s fast and easy!

Summer efficiency tips

Energy bills can be higher during the summer months due to the frequent use of air conditioners and more time spent at home by family members. Help your homebuyers efficiently survive the summer heat and escape high utility bills by implementing these energy-efficient strategies into your building design:
  • Ceiling fans or plug-in fans provide the cooling effect of air movement across skin, which can replace or supplement the use of an air conditioner on cooler days. Make sure fan is pushing down in the summer to provide this cooling effect. Get the ENERGY STAR® perspective on ceiling fans here.
  • Whole house fans, including ERVs and HRVs, can help circulate the air throughout your entire home. Not only does this keep the temperature balanced in different areas, but it also provides the cooling effect through air movement similar to a typical fan. ERVs and HRVs also help to conserve energy through a heat exchanger. You can learn more about ERVs and HRVs here.
  • High SEER Air Conditioners can create substantial energy savings, especially in the hottest days of summer. Choosing a SEER 16 air conditioner can also improve your HERS index score, which may help your homes earn greater incentives from Nicor Gas and ComEd! Talk with your HERS rater to discover how adding efficient air conditioners may affect your HERS index scores and energy savings.
  • Energy-efficient lighting is very beneficial in the summertime, when internal heat gains from incandescent bulbs are undesirable. Efficient options are consistently dropping in price, and many home improvement stores offer special deals during the summer when more people are updating their homes. ENERGY STAR®-certified CFL and LED bulbs use about 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
  • Water saving technology such as low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and ENERGY STAR®-qualified clothes washers and dishwashers reduce demand for hot water and can also prevent excess moist, hot air from being trapped in your house.

Diverse Supplier certification

Nicor Gas and ComEd support and encourage their Diverse Suppliers to obtain certification, which can help develop more interest in your business. Find out more about how to become certified and the related benefits by contacting Janet Sebahar, Nicor Gas’s Trade Ally Outreach Manager. If you are already certified, we applaud your commitment to diversity!

Thank you!

It has been a busy year for the RNC Service, but we are happy to announce that we have surpassed our goals during this fourth year of the program. We certified a total of 875 homes and exceeded our energy-savings objectives by over 100%. We provided builders with $209,550 in incentives, and due to your dedication to energy efficiency this past year, your homes have resulted in reduced CO2 emissions equivalent to 2,106,173 pounds of coal burned. This is also equivalent to planting 50,278 trees and letting them grow for 10 years!

Program year quick facts:

  • 875 homes certified
  • 301,163 therms of natural gas saved*
  • 527,997 kWh of electricity saved*


We thank you for continued support and for helping make this offering a success!

* Therm and kWh savings are preliminary and unevaluated program results.