Driving Innovation

Bronzeville businesses save big with energy efficiency technology

October 26, 2020

It’s not every day a 1920s building located in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood transitions from a traditional heating and cooling system to a geothermal system.

Thanks to incentives from the ComEd® Energy Efficiency Program, the tenants, a long-standing barbershop and local nonprofit can now reap the benefits of increased energy efficiency and significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

“This was the first, big upgrade the building has had,” said Aaron Collard, the building owner. “The savings are definitely paying off.”

Through the ComEd program, commercial customers – including those with outdoor space as limited as a small yard or parking lot and those that would not qualify for federal financial assistance – can receive incentives to replace their existing heating and cooling systems with ground source heat pumps.

Geothermal systems use the relatively constant temperatures underground to provide efficient, year-round energy for heating, cooling and water heating.

“I see monthly savings since the installation of the geothermal system,” he said. “It lowers air conditioning and heating costs.”

Other than cost and energy savings, the ground source heat pump is more eco-friendly than traditional cooling and heating systems.  

“The pump eliminates the need for natural gas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Collard said.

The environmental benefits don’t stop there. As part of the installation process, heating and cooling equipment previously housed on the building’s roof was removed, clearing the way for Collard to become even more energy efficient.

Collard on roof of building with solar panels

“Unlike the traditional equipment, this system is underground,” he said. We had more space on our roof to install solar panels.”

The geothermal system was installed in two days by a Geothermal Alliance of Illinois certified contractor, with another week to install the two ground source wells underground in the rear of the property.

“We didn’t even have to close the businesses to have the system installed,” Collard sad. “I would recommend this technology to others and to take advantage of the ComEd incentive.”

For more information on the ComEd geothermal incentive, email BusinessEE@ComEd.com