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Chicago’s Citizens Utility Board launches new energy-saving program

Written by Green Right Now, ABC 7 News
Published: June 2, 2010

Expanding on a pilot program that saved users an average of $200 annually on utility bills, Chicago’s Citizens Utility Board Wednesday launched the nation’s first online service that rewards users for documented reductions in their energy usage.

Under the program, Commonwealth Edison customers in Illinois can go online to and find recommendations for curbing energy consumption that are tailored to each household. The first 10,000 ComEd customers who join CUB Energy Saver will be eligible for a rewards program in which they can earn points that are redeemable with hundreds of local and national businesses.

In a pilot version of CUB Energy Saver, participants cut their energy usage by an average of about 6 percent, saving roughly $200 a year on energy costs.

CUB Executive Director David Kolata said the website is the result of a unique partnership involving the nonprofit CUB and two New York City-based companies: Efficiency 2.0, a leading energy-efficiency program administrator to the utility industry, and RecycleBank, a rewards program that motivates consumers to take greener actions.

“At a time when families are trying to cut costs wherever they can, CUB Energy Saver will help them reduce their energy bills in ways that have never been possible before,” Kolata said in a statement. “This technology helps consumers pinpoint exactly what their individual household can do to curb energy usage, monitor the results, and earn points redeemable for deals on groceries, gift cards, apparel, restaurants, home goods and much more based on how much they reduce their bills. CUB Energy Saver is a win-win for our pocketbooks and the planet.”

Unlike other online energy-savings calculators that provide generic tips and average savings, CUB’s service leverages a wealth of information to personalize energy-efficiency recommendations for each Illinois household. CUB Energy Saver (Powered by Efficiency 2.0 software) recommends customized efficiency actions and purchases in the same way that Amazon recommends products and Netflix suggests movies.

By taking into account personalized energy end-use and demographic information obtained from millions of sources, including property records, energy-usage history, U.S. Census and other government data, weather analysis, and neighborhood information, each household receives a unique and dynamic energy-savings plan.

Users who connect their ComEd account will receive monthly e-mails updating them on how their actions are directly impacting their power bills, along with suggestions on how to improve. Non-ComEd customers can also use the service to build a money-saving plan for their homes, but at this time, they do not have access to the rewards program. CUB hopes to work with other Illinois utilities to enhance the service.

CUB said the first 10,000 households to link their Energy Saver account to their ComEd and RecycleBank accounts will earn 100 RecycleBank Points just for joining the program and are eligible to earn more points for ongoing energy reductions. Points can be redeemed for rewards from major retailers and brands such as Nature Made, Coca-Cola, CVS/pharmacy, Huggies, Purex Natural Elements, McDonald’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Chicago-area reward partners include Leona’s, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Carson Pirie Scott, County Fair Foods, Treasure Island, The Olive Mountain, Barbara’s Bookstore, and SciTech Hands On Museum.

All the CUB Energy Saver website needs is a consumer’s address and ComEd account information to build a home’s money-saving plan of action and track savings over time. However, the more information people give—about their homes, lifestyle, and habits—the better the plan CUB Energy Saver will build to help consumers control their energy costs.


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Recyclebank At A Glance

New York

New York, Philadelphia and Houston

Javier Flaim


The Coca-Cola Company, Craton Equity Partners, Generation Investment Management, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Paul Capital Investments, Physic Ventures, RRE Ventures LLC, Sigma Partners, Waste Management Inc., and Westly Group

4 Million+

300+ in all 50 states

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