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Trade Ally Newsletter

Residential furnace bonus ending March 31

The residential furnace bonus is ending soon! Equipment must be installed by March 31 to be eligible for the bonus. Furnaces installed starting April 1 must use our new application, which will be available on our website and the Contractor Circle Instant Discount Application Portal. Starting April 1, 95% AFUE furnace rebates will be $200; 97% AFUE furnace rebates will be $225. 

Please contact your outreach representative if you have any questions. 

Outside view of brick building

Driving public sector projects with assessments

We want to help our communities save more on public sector projects, and the best way to start is with a free assessment. There are several types of assessments available for public sector customers based on therm usage. Contact your outreach representative to discuss which assessment is right for you. After the assessment, customers will receive a report that details the identified energy-saving opportunities. These projects may yield opportunities for contractors to perform the recommended work.

Nicor Gas defines public sector as a property which is controlled or owned by the government and is also funded through taxation. Some examples include:

  • Local, municipal, state, or federal government buildings
  • K-12 public schools
  • State colleges and universities
  • Public hospitals and health clinics
  • Public airports
  • Public libraries

Nicor Gas includes state and federally funded customers in public sector. Other utilities may define public sector customers differently.

Torch Award

Contractor Spotlight: Dutchman Heating and Cooling receives BBB Torch Award

Contractor Circle member Dutchman Heating and Cooling was presented the 2020 Torch Award for Business Ethics by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The Torch Award spotlights companies that exemplify marketplace trust and excellence.

“We are honored to be selected to receive the BBB Torch Award,” said Mike Bakker, owner of Dutchman Heating and Cooling. “We realize there are countless businesses in Chicagoland eligible in our category of 10-49 employees.  We feel organizations like the Chicagoland BBB add a lot of value to the business community in helping both consumers and businesses provide fair and ethical best practices."

Two men walking inside Lobby of building

Resources for hiring and developing skilled labor

If you’re looking to hire qualified employees or know someone looking to expand their skills, Illinois workNET and Project Hire-Ed may have the resources you need. 

Illinois workNET is a great source for workforce development resources for individuals and employers. workNET helps connect job seekers to employers, provides virtual job fairs and has options for training and services. Learn more about workNET at and work with your local county-based workNET program. Find a workNET center near you.

There also may be apprenticeship programs at your local community college, where the college may provide skilled training and help connect students with employers. One such program is Project Hire-Ed which operates out of the College of DuPage. The program provides apprenticeship opportunities, including an HVAC training track. Project Hire-Ed aims to build a bridge between industry and education to help employers find and train the right talent for their organizations. Learn how you can benefit as an employer partner