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Project Launch: 02/01/2019
Income Eligible

Partner: Evergreen Economics

In order to better serve income eligible customers with high energy use, this research project identified key factors that limit their participation in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program.


ComEd teamed up with Evergreen Economics to conduct a needs assessment for income eligible residential customers with high energy use. Bilingual surveys, in-home assessments, focus groups and interviews were used to determine:

  • Common factors that discourage these customers from participating in ComEd Energy Efficiency Program offerings
  • Gaps in current energy efficiency offerings that do not fully address their needs


While the research revealed there is likely no single cause behind this customer group’s high energy use, the most common contributors included:

  • Frequent use of supplemental electric space heating
  • Building envelope deficiencies, such as insufficient insulation and high air infiltration
  • Behavioral practices, including inefficient thermostat settings
  • Multiple refrigerators and freezers
  • Electric medical equipment


Based on these findings, recommendations for new and modified energy efficiency program offerings were proposed. These include:

  • Allowing customers to replace more than one refrigerator and freezer per home through a fridge and freezer recycling offering
  • Providing seasonal home updates and services, such as the removal of window air conditioners and seasonal air-sealing activities
  • Increasing enrollment in home energy upgrades by cross-marketing with state and federal income eligible programs
  • Building credibility through messages that feature energy cost savings, comfort and health benefits

Read the executive summary.