Tuesday, 20 September 2011 13:45

Carbonfund.org and Environmental Resources Trust Partner to Support Chicago Zero Energy Solar Homes

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Each Home Owner Will Receive $25 for their Solar-Powered Indirect Carbon Dioxide Emission Reductions for 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2006 — Carbonfund.org, a leading nonprofit organization making it easy and affordable for any person or business to reduce their climate impact, and Environmental Resources Trust, a leading certifier of renewable energy, announced today a partnership to support the Chicago Zero Energy Solar Homes Project with Carbonfund.org purchasing the renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the solar installation. The project is a seven home affordable housing development in Chicago’s North Lawndale community that utilizes advanced technologies to reduce the energy demand of the house and adds a 2.5 kW photovoltaic solar roof to generate most of the remaining electricity for the home. Carbonfund.org will retire the RECs purchased from the project to offset the carbon footprints of the non-profit’s contributors.

Begun in 2003, the Chicago Zero Energy Solar Homes Project was envisioned to help reduce the costs of living in homes for low-income families by employing energy efficient and solar energy technologies. The program seeks to take advantage of demand for renewable energy certificates and clean air goals in the city of Chicago to induce investment in solar production on individual homes. A development agreement signed in 2004 between ERT and Bethel New Life (a faith-based community services not for profit organization) authorized the start of the program. Construction began on the first seven of 15 homes to be built under a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation in April 2005. The homes were completed by December 2005 and families moved in by February 2006.

Part of the solar costs were covered with a program related investment made from ERT’s Reinvestment Fund. The Reinvestment Fund was created out of proceeds from the purchase of RECs from ComEd by the City of Chicago. The fund was designed to make investments in renewable energy. Under the agreement with Bethel New Life the Reinvestment Funds would be made available in exchange for the rights to sell the RECs to recoup the initial investment. In exchange, homeowners receive 20% of the proceeds.

Each Zero Energy Solar Home deploys an energy efficient package of ENERGY STAR appliances, lighting and insulation, and a 2.5 kilowatt solar shingle roofing system. The combination of energy-efficiency and solar power production means that the home’s energy impact is brought down by at least 75%. Average monthly energy savings are estimated to be over $77. Additionally, homeowners will receive a check for $25 for the sale of the solar RECs for one year, increasing average cost savings to $950 per year.

“The Chicago Zero Energy Solar Homes Program represents a significant opportunity for home builders and home buyers to cost-effectively reduce their global warming impact,” stated Carbonfund.org President Eric M. Carlson. “Carbonfund.org also supports the community development and other social benefits the project offers. We are thrilled that each home owner will receive a $25 check for reducing the threat of global warming.”
According to Alden Hathaway, Director, EcoPower Programs at the non-profit, Environmental Resources Trust, “The Chicago Zero Energy Solar Homes Program provides low income homeowners with the security of very low electric bills plus added revenue from solar REC sales. This further helps support the efforts to keep low income families in affordable homes.”

Carbonfund.org and ERT share a goal of helping to reduce the cost of clean, renewable and domestically produced energy, such as solar power. “With Greenland melting twice as fast as just a decade ago, more frequent and severe hurricanes and temperatures increasing globally, reducing the threat of global warming is a critical challenge of our time,” added Carlson. “Finding innovative and cost-effective solutions to global warming, such as the Chicago Zero Energy Solar Homes Program, is a huge step in that direction.”

About Environmental Resources Trust
Environmental Resources Trust is a not for profit organization dedicated to pioneering markets to benefit the environment. Through its GHG Registry and EcoPower Programs, ERT is the leading certifier and register of both greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy certificates.

About Carbonfund.org
Carbonfund.org reduces the threat of climate change by making it easy and affordable for any individual or business to reduce their carbon footprint and support climate-friendly projects. With its easy-to-use calculator, low offset cost per ton of CO2, and certified offset projects, Carbonfund.org is proving that anyone can reduce their impact on climate change easily and efficiently.  Carbonfund.org is a 501(c)(3) charitable, nonprofit organization, and a member of the EPA’s Green Power Network, the Chicago Climate Exchange and Ceres.

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