Chicago Announces Climate Fund Winners for Green Economy and Climate Resilience

The city of Chicago, IL recently announced the recipients of its Climate Infrastructure Fund. The grants that are intended to help Chicago neighborhoods transition to a green economy and combat the effects of climate change.

The grants are funded by proceeds from a 2021 City of Chicago bond issue associated with the Chicago Recovery Plan. Total funding to be disbursed is approximately $3.7m. The 22 small businesses and nonprofits receive between $75,000 to $250,000 each and focus on areas such as renewable energy and fossil-free energy efficiency investments, electric vehicles and charging stations, green stormwater management upgrades and other improvements that promote neighborhood resiliency. Total project costs are estimated at $5.1m.

“These Climate Infrastructure Fund grants mark a significant stride towards a greener, more resilient Chicago, aligning with our city’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 62 per cent by 2040,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “By supporting these innovative projects, we are not just addressing climate change but fostering a healthier and more sustainable future for our communities.”

In the area of renewable energy and efficiency, chosen projects include:

  • the installation of heat pump technology, along with air sealing and insulation, at a transitional home that serves justice-impacted men;
  • a solar array that will generate 29,100 kWh and completely cover a church’s annual electricity needs, along with the installation of high efficiency lighting; and
  • a 72-kilowatt solar installation as part of an arts club’s adaptive reuse of a former synagogue.

 Projects in the electric vehicle field include:

  • the decarbonisation of  transport fleet used by a worker cooperative with the purchase of two e-transit vans and the installation of two charging stations at its facility; and
  • A mixed-use campus will purchase electric vehicles and two charging stations to help expand its ongoing resiliency efforts.

Green infrastructure projects include:

  • a community “peace garden” to provide natural landscaping for passive recreation; and
  • a rooftop garden planned by that will provide native landscaping for outdoor education.

“Nearly 70% of Chicago’s greenhouse gas emissions are from buildings,” said Department of Environment commissioner and chief sustainability officer Angela Tovar. “The Climate Infrastructure Fund provides essential funding for small businesses and nonprofit organizations to adopt clean energy strategies that will result in lowering emissions across Chicago while reducing operating costs, improving indoor air quality, and increasing comfort for building occupants.”