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Chicago Releases Results of Energy Assessment for Commercial Buildings


The Institute for Market Transformation reports that the City of Chicago recently released the results of its second annual assessment of energy use in large commercial, institutional, and residential buildings throughout the city. Findings reveal that improving energy efficiency in these buildings could reduce energy use up to 24 percent, save up to $184 million in energy costs, create as many as 2,000 jobs, and cut carbon pollution equivalent to removing 306,000 cars from the road.  

“By increasing awareness and transparency on building energy use, Chicago is accelerating the market for energy efficiency and uncovering opportunities to save money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Karen Weigert, the City of Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer. 

In conjunction with its 2015 Chicago Energy Benchmarking Report and infographic, the City published information on approximately 250 of the its largest buildings on the Chicago Data Portal. The City Energy Project also partnered with Chicago to launch a new website where users can interact with this building energy performance data.

Chicago’s 2015 report includes data collected through its Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance, which requires owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to collect and share energy-use data with the city annually and verify the data every three years. Residential buildings larger than 250,000 square feet, along with commercial and institutional buildings larger than 50,000 square feet, were required to report 2014 data this year. The 2015 report examines aggregated 2014 data from more than 1,800 buildings that cover more than 600 million square feet and represent approximately 20 percent of citywide energy use. The 2015 results mark a five-fold increase in participation.  Overall, Chicago buildings reported a median ENERGY STAR score of 58 out of 100, which is 16 percent higher than the national median of 50. Also, the buildings that shared energy data for the second consecutive year showed a slight decrease in site energy use (the amount of energy used per square foot, normalized for weather variations).  

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor of Building Operating Management magazine, greg.zimmerman@tradepress.com.

Read more from him on codes and energy efficiency.

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