Nicor Gas Further Expands Partnership with Habitat for Humanity to Bring Second Net Zero Neighborhood to Chicagoland

The newest Smart Neighborhood™ is planned for Carpentersville

Naperville, Ill. – June 18, 2024 – Nicor Gas announced today that it is entering the second phase of its Smart Neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area. The new Smart Neighborhood will be built in Carpentersville, Ill. in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley. The first community is already under development in Aurora, Ill. with Fox Valley’s Habitat affiliate.

The new community will be comprised of 13 single-family homes, all part of Carter Crossing, a 28-home, net zero subdivision in Carpentersville. The homes will be net zero, meaning they produce more energy through renewable resources than the total amount of energy that the home uses. Nicor Gas refers to these homes as CARE communities (Carbon-neutral, Affordable, Resilient and Efficient) because they demonstrate resilient and sustainable solutions for all income levels. The neighborhoods are designed with a high efficiency building envelope and integrate solar panels and energy storage as well as utilize energy efficient appliances to ensure that homeowners’ energy bills are manageable. Eligible residents are all first-time homeowners and benefit from a zero-interest mortgage.

Nicor Gas has been leading the industry in providing equitable pathways for sustainability to its customers and communities. The company has been working closely with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the U.S. Department of Zero Energy Ready Home program.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley as we work together to make home ownership with critical energy efficient, smart technology a reality,” said Meena Beyers, vice president of Business and Community Development at Nicor Gas. “This project represents the importance of providing affordable, innovative and sustainable solutions for all our customers. Everyone deserves the opportunity to lower their carbon footprint and be a part of a smarter and cleaner energy future in Chicagoland.”

Smart Neighborhood™ is a trademarked brand of Southern Company, the ultimate parent company of Nicor Gas. Smart Neighborhoods advance energy technologies that work together as a part of an affordable, reliable clean energy economy. They lead to job creation, diverse business partnerships, economic development and green transportation.

“We are excited to continue our work alongside Nicor Gas to create a pathway to strength, stability and independence through homeownership for our residents in Carpentersville,” said Barbara Beckman, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley. “This collaboration represents a unique opportunity to advance the adoption of net zero energy solutions, while making them available to individuals who ordinarily could not afford these environmental upgrades.”

As the largest natural gas provider in Illinois, Nicor Gas leads cutting-edge research and development focused on a resilient clean energy future every day. Nicor Gas is part of Southern Company Gas, a family of four natural gas distribution companies whose commitment to sustainability includes working towards net zero emissions from operations, while delivering quality customer solutions, enriching communities and investing in innovation.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit that brings people together to build homes, communities and hope, envisioning a world where everyone has a decent place to live. The housing organization works in communities across all 50 states.

For this community, Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley will serve as the developer of the Smart Neighborhood. In addition, Habitat for Humanity will partner with local government officials on a broader Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to conduct home repairs and build quality, affordable homes for those in need. Nicor Gas will support that initiative through its energy efficiency program.

To learn more about the Smart Neighborhood Initiative, please visit  NGSmartNeighborhoods.com.

About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.3 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit nicorgas.com.

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other non-utility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in southern Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitatnfv.org.

Media Contact
Allison Gregoire
Project Spokesperson
aegregoi@southernco.com
470-733-2076


City of Aurora, Nicor Gas Unveil New Exhibit on Smart Cities at City Hall

Exhibit spotlights new Smart Neighborhoods collaboration between Nicor Gas, Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity and the City of Aurora

AURORA, Ill., Feb. 14, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The City of Aurora and Nicor Gas announced today the unveiling of a new educational exhibit on Smart Cities on the first floor of the Development Services Building at City Hall. The ribbon cutting for the new exhibit will take place on February 14, 2024.

The exhibit tells the story of how smart and connected technologies, when combined with smart energy strategies, are creating a more sustainable City of Aurora. The exhibit also showcases the new Nicor Gas Smart Neighborhoods, an affordable net zero community being built in Aurora in cooperation with Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity. The community fiber services provider, OnLight Aurora, will be playing a strategic role in laying the communications infrastructure for the development.

“Aurora is focused on IT, innovation, and ingenuity as we strive to be the smartest city in America,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “The Aurora-based Nicor Gas Smart Neighborhood is a beacon of light and leadership in smart energy solutions, and its accompanying new educational exhibit will help to inform and inspire our community.”

“We are so pleased to announce the opening of this new educational exhibit to help tell the story of how innovation in natural gas plays a key role in our country’s overall energy strategy – and is essential in creating an affordable and sustainable future for Illinois,” said Meena Beyers, vice president of community & business development at Nicor Gas.

Learn more about the Nicor Gas Smart Neighborhoods at NGSmartNeighborhoods.com.

About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.3 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit nicorgas.com.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Southern Company Smart Neighborhoods 
Smart Neighborhoods is a trademarked brand of Southern Company, the ultimate parent company of Nicor Gas. Smart Neighborhoods advance energy technologies that work together as a part of an affordable, reliable clean energy economy. They lead to job creation, diverse business partnerships, economic development, and green transportation. The Aurora community will be the first Smart Neighborhood to be built in Illinois and will launch a two-year research study to examine how natural gas can be part of the solution toward meeting net zero energy goals. Learn more at ngsmartneighborhoods.com.

SOURCE Nicor Gas


This is a test for the new blog page. please disregard.

Thank You


Nicor Gas and Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity Break Ground on New Smart Neighborhood™ in Chicagoland

Net zero affordable neighborhood demonstrates the importance of natural gas in a sustainable future for all

Naperville, Ill. – Tuesday, June 27, 2023 – Nicor Gas, Southern Company and Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity announced today the groundbreaking of a new community designed to be carbon-neutral and achieve net-zero in Aurora, Illinois. The largest natural gas distributor in the state is partnering with the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliate to offer new smart homes to first-time home buyers with an emphasis on resiliency and affordability. Nicor Gas is part of Southern Company Gas, a family of four natural gas distribution companies whose commitment to sustainability includes working towards a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions from operations while delivering quality customer solutions, enriching communities and investing in innovation.

This is Southern Company’s first Smart Neighborhood™ community to be led by a natural gas company and in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. The project will demonstrate the benefits of a smart building envelope with dual energy solutions to shine a spotlight on affordable, sustainable living. Continue reading “Nicor Gas and Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity Break Ground on New Smart Neighborhood™ in Chicagoland”


Energy Central

Smart Neighborhood Project Combines Net Zero with Natural Gas

This article was originally featured in the Probuilder’s Utopia

Building net zero, carbon neutral homes means going all-electric and getting rid of natural gas entirely—right? Actually, no, according to a new home development and research project launched by Nicor Gas, the largest natural gas provider in Illinois, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Continue reading “Smart Neighborhood Project Combines Net Zero with Natural Gas”


Energy Central

Episode #117: ‘Preparing Natural Gas Utilities for the Decarbonized Future’ with Meena Beyers, Vice President of Business and Community Development, Nicor Gas [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast]

This article was originally featured in Energy Central

Nearly every utility these days has made the leap to set decarbonization targets, whether that’s committing to a certain percentage of net zero, renewable energy, clean energy, or other metric in the coming decades. While the focus for these ambitions often centers on switching electric utilities from fossil fuels to non-carbon alternatives, the reality remains that the natural gas utilities across the country will continue to play a critical role over the coming decades, even with more electrification pushes. But the presence of natural gas utilities doesn’t need to work counter to decarbonization goals, and Nicor Gas is a leading innovator in the gas utility space that is demonstrating that fact.

Continue reading “Episode #117: ‘Preparing Natural Gas Utilities for the Decarbonized Future’ with Meena Beyers, Vice President of Business and Community Development, Nicor Gas [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast]”


Energy Central

The Role of Gas Companies in a Net Zero Future: A Spotlight on Nicor Gas Smart Neighborhoods™

This article was originally featured in the Energy Central

There is a popular misconception that natural gas equals increased CO2 and poor air quality and that natural gas utilities are lagging behind electric utilities in terms of innovation in net zero. This is simply incorrect. Today’s highly efficient gas technologies like the newest heat pumps actually emit less CO2 than their electric counterparts. Coupling natural gas and electric, rather than converting homes to 100% electric, will not only keep energy prices lower for consumers, but also decrease the need for power plants and lessen the need to burn fossil fuels. Continue reading “The Role of Gas Companies in a Net Zero Future: A Spotlight on Nicor Gas Smart Neighborhoods™”


Habitat for Humanity subdivision in Aurora seeks breakthrough in affordability

This article was originally featured in the Aurora Beacon-News

Aurora, Ill. – Friday, Jan 27, 2023 – The key theme for the new Habitat Green subdivision planned for Aurora’s far West Side can be summed up in one word – affordability.

The goal of its planners is make the 17-house Habitat for Humanity subdivision “an affordable and resilient community,” while achieving energy efficiency, said Meena Beyers, vice president of Community and Business Development for Nicor, which serves 2.3 million customers in northern Illinois with natural gas. Continue reading “Habitat for Humanity subdivision in Aurora seeks breakthrough in affordability”


Nicor Gas and Southern Company Partner with Two Local Habitat for Humanity Affiliates to Build Energy Efficient, Net Zero Communities in Chicagoland

Smart Neighborhood™ concepts being planned for Aurora and Northern Fox Valley

Naperville, Ill. – Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022 – Today, Nicor Gas and Southern Company are announcing a new partnership with the Fox Valley and Northern Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity affiliates to develop Smart Neighborhood™ communities dedicated to providing affordable, net zero greenhouse gas emissions housing options in the Chicagoland area.

Two planned communities, one in Aurora and a second being developed in Northern Fox Valley, will total 30 single-family net zero emissions homes equipped with a combination of renewable, electric, and natural gas technologies. Eligible residents will enjoy freedom from expensive mortgages and benefit from using features such as energy efficient appliances that help reduce high energy bills; all while reducing their carbon footprint.

The Smart Neighborhood will be built along Jericho Road and Garden Avenue near the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks in Aurora. Also known as CARE communities (Carbon-neutral, Affordable, Resilient and Efficient), each Smart Neighborhood will come with high efficiency building envelopes, solar panels and battery solutions that will allow for further reliability in the event of storms or inclement weather. Groundbreaking for the Aurora development is expected to take place next spring. Work on the Northern Fox Valley development is slated for 2024. Continue reading “Nicor Gas and Southern Company Partner with Two Local Habitat for Humanity Affiliates to Build Energy Efficient, Net Zero Communities in Chicagoland”