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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™”


Chicago Tribune

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”