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CheckMate’s multifamily building in Chicago

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CheckMate Realty and Development, Inc. (CheckMate), a Chicago property owner dedicated to providing high-quality affordable housing, worked with Elevate Energy and Community Investment Corporation (CIC) to retrofit a 31-unit multifamily building that provides affordable, unsubsidised housing in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.

The building, located at 2909-29 E. 78th Street, is a four-story property built in 1928. In this project, CheckMate reduced weather-normalised source energy use intensity (EUI) by 36% through energy efficiency measures that included improved air sealing and insulation. More specifically, in 2010, CheckMate completed moderate construction to both the interior and exterior of the building — from fixing windows, lighting, ceiling fans, and installing new kitchen cabinets and floors, new bathroom tubs, floors, and doors, to adding new electrical service and circuit breakers, repairing plumbing, conducting major repairs to rear porches, and separately metering the cooking gas in each unit. In addition, in 2013, the owner repaired two vacant units that were significantly damaged from fire and water.


Retrofit measures timetableƒƒ

October 2009: Energy assessment

February 2011 to January 2013: Energy retrofit construction period

February 2012: Air sealing; roof cavity and attic insulation

June 2012: ComEd Direct Install Programme January

2013: Domestic hot water and heating pipe Insulation


Project cost

The retrofit measures cost $30,200: the ComEd Direct Install measures were free, the air sealing and roof insulation cost $12,120, and the domestic hot water and heating pipe insulation cost $18,080.



The implemented efficiency measures resulted in multiple benefits both to the building owner and the tenants, with the most obvious being the energy savings and resident comfort. For example, there were substantial gas savings due to the implementation of the efficiency measures. Both baseload and heating load EUIs decreased after the retrofit, causing a reduction in fuel Source EUI from 152 kBtu per sq. ft. to 98 kBtu per sq. ft. This is equivalent to overall gas savings of approximately 36%.


For further information and details, you can download the relevant report elaborated by the Institute for Market Transformation (ICM) here.

Lessons learnt

This project demonstrates that a one-stop-shop advantage, such as that offered by Elevate Energy and CIC, can eliminate many of the transaction costs that can make retrofits overly burdensome for affordable housing property owners and managers. Also, it shows that multifamily property owners can often increase their Net Operating Income (NOI) through cost-effective energy efficiency measures.

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