A Chicago area home tour will show off the nuts and bolts of what makes houses energy efficient, including smart thermostats and lighting, furnaces, and solar panels.
The 2016 GreenBuilt Home Tour on July 23 and 24 will focus on demonstrating smart home technology and tools that empower residents to save money and energy. The fourth annual event, which provides access to one-of-a-kind homes that show off the latest in green building design and technology, will feature for the first time smart thermostats and smart lighting. These products are in line with Chicago-area utility ComEd's recent rollout of smart meters that allow residents access to their daily and hourly energy, says Brian Imus, executive director of USGBC-Illinois, an organizer of the tour.
"Now with smart meter data and technologies like smart thermostats, homeowners can manage their energy use - empowering them to save money and the planet," says Imus. "This is the first year the tour will highlight these technologies in action and provide detailed information on utility rebate and saving programs."
As part of the Smart Grid Law passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011, ComEd will install more than 4 million smart meters throughout its service area by the end of 2018. More than 2.3 million smart meters have been installed so far.
"We're excited to educate visitors about the ways they can benefit from the smart meters being installed in every home in Illinois," says Anne Evens, CEO of economic development agency Elevate Energy, which is participating in the GreenBuilt Home Tour. "We'll explain how pairing that new technology with tried-and-true efficiency upgrades like air-sealing and insulation are the most cost-effective way to lower utility bills, protect the environment, and even increase the value of a home when it goes on the market."
Homes on the tour will highlight smart thermostats, smart lighting, smart furnaces, and solar panels and will provide attendees with opportunities to ask questions of builders and energy experts about how these emerging technologies work and how easily these technologies can be implemented in their own homes.
The homes featuring smart technologies and energy efficiency information stations are in communities across the region including La Grange, Orland Park, Highland Park, Libertyville, Lisle, and several locations in Chicago. For a list of all homes on the tour with addresses and pictures, visit www.greenbuilthometour.org.