Case study

Chicago Department of Housing’s Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program

UPDATED: 10/04/2023


Project Name: Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program

Project Leader(s): City of Chicago Department of Housing

Partner(s): To be determined. Partners will be selected via RFP in Fall 2023. Project partners can include non-profit and for-profit implementation partners. DOH prefers partners that have experience working in cold climates like Chicago.

Stage of Completion: Waiting to start. Currently in the contracting phase. 

Construction Type: Existing buildings

Building Type: Single-family, 2-4 unit buildings

Total Number of Units Targeted: 200-350

Total Number of Units Completed: N/A

Tenant Structure: Owner-occupied or renter-occupied with landlord consent

  • 1-2 unit buildings must be owner occupied

  • 3-4 unit buildings may be owner-occupied or renter-occupied with landlord consent

Target Audience:

  • Low-income homeowners as well as energy burdened households (80% AMI or below)

  • Homes must show proof through an energy assessment that they are able to benefit from deep residential retrofit work.

Electrification Project Scope

Full/Partial Electrification: Full & Partial

  • The project incorporates a tiered structure that enables multiple levels of household intervention for a wide range of weatherization and decarbonization retrofits. Each prior tier must be completed before any of the costs associated with higher-tier interventions are program eligible, however, not all tiers will be relevant for each home participating in the program. Homes who receive Tier 3 retrofits will also receive Tier 1 weatherization and Tier 2 measures. 

  • Tier 1 includes weatherization

  • Tier 2 includes Tier 1 + partial decarbonization

  • Tier 3 includes Tier 1 & Tier 2 + full decarbonization.

Existing Heating Fuel Type: Natural gas

End Uses Electrified:

  • Tier 1: None. Weatherization and pre-electrification work (increasing efficiency)

  • Tier 2: Space heating and cooling

  • Tier 3: Space heating and cooling, water heating, cooking appliances, and clothes drying

Specific electric appliances installed:

  • Tier 1: None (weatherization/efficiency work only)

  • Tier 2: Air source heat pump, electrical system upgrades as necessary

  • Tier 3: Air source heat pump, heat pump water heater, heat pump clothes dryer, induction range, may consider ground source heat pumps & dual fuel, but the provider must demonstrate reduced energy bills for participants. 


Total Project Funding: $15M

Amount or % of Project Cost Covered per unit: 100% 

Source of Funding: Chicago Recovery Plan Fund

More information

Motivation for electrification:

  • The City wants to leverage the current local, state, and federal funding and subsidy options, to reduce the City's overall emissions, lower utility bills and improve indoor air quality for low- and moderate-income homeowners, and invest in clean energy construction. The City is also looking to build pathways for BIPOC workers and business owners to participate in the clean energy market. 

Additional Measures Implemented:

  • Tier 1 weatherization measures will be included with every project (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3).

  • In-wall insulation, air sealing, cladding/external insulation, upgrades to floors/ceilings/roofs/basements, air sealing

  • Tier 2 homes will receive electrical upgrades to home wiring systems

  • Tier 3 homes may include rooftop solar/PV panels

Workforce Development/Green Jobs Component:

  • DOH intends to evaluate potential project partners (respondents) on their experience with and plans for providing workforce development, training, and equitable subcontracting, DOH encourages use of small, minority, and women-owned businesses.  


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