Building on the assets that have made Chicagoland and northern Illinois a top market for data centers, ComEd has launched a significant new energy efficiency program that will spur regional business development in the digital economy sector.

Through this new incentive offering, part of the Smart Ideas for Your Business program, ComEd will work with data center designers, owners, and tenants to strengthen operations and maximize energy efficiency.By providing per kWh financial incentives and technical assistance, ComEd will help these businesses lower energy use and save money on electricity bills. Whether businesses are building new facilities, renovating or expanding, ComEd will work with them to achieve a permanent reduction in electrical usage.

Data centers are the large facilities used to house computer servers and other systems that power our modern, digital economy. They also are major consumers of energy, requiring a great deal of electricity to both power and cool equipment. They can consume 100 to 200 times more electricity than standard office spaces.

"The reliance on digital technology to support virtually everything we do is increasing on an almost daily basis and businesses count on uninterrupted power to support all of that technology," said Val Jensen, ComEd's senior vice president of customer operations. "ComEd's reliability performance is already in the top third nationally and is on target to become even stronger due to investments we are making under the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), so we offer data center customers the reliability they need and technical and financial support to run an energy efficient operation."

ComEd has two dedicated account managers who are specialists within the data center industry. They currently serve as energy liaisons to over 60 data centers in northern Illinois. These experts will work with both new and existing businesses to reduce utility bills by helping to offset the cost of building or modernizing their equipment and facilities.

The combination of a skilled workforce, a strong fiber optic infrastructure, a large peering network among fiber optic providers and high financial and enterprise server demand from a large base of Fortune 500 companies and financial businesses, including 28 located in the metropolitan area, have contributed to the Chicago area's popularity as a location for data centers. 

In addition, for companies seeking reliable and affordable power options, the region offers a robust competitive electricity market with more than 30 suppliers; extensive energy efficiency programs; low-carbon generation sources from the highest concentration of nuclear power plants in the country and growing renewable resources, including wind and solar power.

ComEd's new incentive offering as part of the Smart Ideas for Your Business program builds on that strong foundation. Last year, energy efficiency projects were completed at several customer sites. Latisys, a leading provider of IT infrastructure services from colocation to cloud, implemented advanced cooling systems in their Chicago data center. By better managing air flow, they can conserve energy and lower cooling costs.

"The incentive from ComEd enabled us to implement hot aisle and cold aisle containment systems in our Tier III data center," said Nabon Marsico, director of data center operations, Latisys. "This is already translating to significant savings while allowing us to provide more concentrated and precise cooling for our hosting and colocation customers."

ComEd's new program is part of the Smart Ideas for Your Business portfolio, which recently entered its fifth year. The Smart Ideasprogram encourages customers to save money and reduce energy consumption by helping them offset the cost of energy efficiency measures.