Jeff Masters Weather Blog

The Chicago Bungalow Association is making the city’s vintage homes more energy-efficient » Yale Climate Connections

In Chicago, many streets are lined with small, brick homes with big windows and wide low-pitched roofs. They’re known as Chicago bungalows.

“They are about a third of our single-family housing stock here. There are over 80,000 of them, we think,” says Carla Bruni of the Chicago Bungalow Association. “And they have historically always been sort of for everybody … all different income levels, all different kinds of occupations, all different kinds of people.”

Bruni says most of these homes are about a century old. And like many old houses, they can be drafty and expensive to heat.

So her group partners on a weatherization program for bungalows and other vintage homes.

Homeowners making less than 80% of the area’s median income qualify for free energy-saving upgrades like air sealing and new insulation.

“They generally see around a 30% reduction on their electric bill and around a 50% reduction on their gas bill,” Bruni says.

She says that over the years, her group has worked on about 13,000 homes.

“There’s a real ripple effect there in terms of not just lowering bills, but really watching energy consumption drop in certain neighborhoods,” she says.

So making small improvements to older homes can make a big difference for residents and the climate.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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