Contact  |  Home  |  Member Log-In
Join the Chapter Make a Donation      Like USGBC-Illinois on Facebook  Follow USGBC-Illinois on Twitter  Join USGBC-Illinois on LinkedIn  Join USGBC-Illinois on Instagram

2016 Chicago Energy Benchmarking report now online

New Report Shows Chicago Reduces Overall Carbon Emissions by 7% While Economy Expands, With Major Reductions Due to Improved Energy Efficiency in Buildings

On January 24th, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in a press release that the city has reduced carbon emissions by 7% from 2010 to 2015, while also experiencing a 25,000 increase in population and a 12% increase in the region’s economy. Over 84% of the emission reductions that were achieved came from the energy used in buildings and from construction. For a summary of the report’s results, please see the Infographic.

Together, the energy used to power residential, commercial, and institutional buildings make up 73% of Chicago’s greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions from this sector have been reduced by 10% from 2010 to 2015.  Many of the decreases are due to lowered electricity consumption as well as switching to a less carbon-intensive fuel mix to power the electricity supply. Some specific initiatives supporting energy efficiency improvements include Retrofit Chicago and the City’s Energy Benchmarking Ordinance.

By encouraging voluntary action, the Retrofit Chicago program celebrates and promotes additional energy efficiency improvements in commercial, institutional, municipal, and residential buildings across the City. Under Retrofit Chicago, energy efficiency improvements are planned, underway, or completed in over 23,000 homes and 132 large buildings collectively spanning over 75 million square feet. Also, 11 new properties have joined the Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge, in which buildings commit to a 20 percent energy reduction within five years.

The City has now also released the third annual Chicago Energy Benchmarking Report, which provides an update on implementation of the City’s energy benchmarking ordinance. This policy now covers more than 3,500 properties across every neighborhood in the City, including all commercial, institutional, and residential properties 50,000 ft2 or greater. Nearly 2,700 properties spanning 733 million ft2 have reported energy use information under the ordinance. With a reporting rate of 91% (by square footage), participation levels in benchmarking and reporting remain at high level in Chicago. Collectively, the estimated savings achieved by properties benchmarking and reporting for either two or three consecutive years are approximately $17.8 million.

Also, the City has released energy data for more than 1,500 properties that reported for the first time in either 2014 or 2015. The dataset may be downloaded from the City’s Data Portal or may be viewed online in an interactive mapping tool allowing customized comparison, developed in partnership with the City Energy Project.

In addition to Retrofit Chicago and the Energy Benchmarking Ordinance, Chicago has worked to improve the transparency of energy use information in the residential sector, and is the first and only jurisdiction to have energy use data into real estate listings (MLS) in the United States. Chicago has also utilized its buying power to remove coal from the power mix from the over $70 million of electricity its purchases annually to power public buildings, streetlights, and airports.
Chicago continues to lead the nation in providing comprehensive support for energy efficiency through these and other efforts.

The full greenhouse gas emissions report will be released later in 2017 and will provide information about comparisons between emissions for 2005, 2010, & 2015.  The preliminary carbon reduction report can be found at:

A summary Infographic is online at:

The Energy Benchmarking Report can be found at:

Thank you to our Gold and Platinum Level Sustaining Sponsors!

USGBC-IL Platinum and Gold Level Sponsors