December 8, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces 50th Building to Join Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative

City continues aggressive energy efficiency push with Commercial Buildings Initiative milestone and $1.6 million in additional funding for energy efficiency upgrades in apartment buildings

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the 50th building to join Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative alongside United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Commercial Buildings Initiative, a voluntary leadership effort to reduce energy use by 20 percent within 5 years, now reaches 50 buildings and almost 39 million square feet, making it one of the largest private sector voluntary efficiency programs in the country.

In addition to the Commercial Buildings Initiative milestone, the City also announced a new joint partnership with Elevate Energy to implement comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades in 2,500 electric heated apartment units and distribute efficiency products to an additional 7,500 households across Chicago over the next three years. The new initiative will deliver proven and effective energy efficiency solutions to electrically heated apartment buildings, saving owners and tenants money on their electric bills, improving the comfort of their homes and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To participate, building owners need to complete a short online application on the Retrofit Chicago website, Owners can also receive more information by calling 855.372.8377.

“Retrofit Chicago participants are leading a rising private sector energy movement that demonstrates how efficiency leads to saving money, reducing carbon emissions, creating 21st century jobs, and lowering the cost of doing business in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Now this additional funding for our existing Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership is a testament to how serious the City of Chicago takes investing in energy efficiency to ensure sustainability for our businesses and homes.”

All eligible buildings that apply will receive free energy assessments and direct installation of energy efficient light bulbs in common areas. Financial incentives will be available for those who opt to implement more in-depth efficiency measures, whose projected costs and savings will be outlined in the assessment report, including air sealing and insulation and HVAC system upgrades. The City will distribute thousands of free energy efficiency products for residents through its existing community engagement channels. Together the comprehensive apartment efficiency upgrades and distribution of free efficiency products will cost approximately $1.6 million over a 36-month period, while reducing total net electricity usage by 4.503 gigawatts over that period.

The Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership combines the efforts of ComEd, Peoples Gas, Elevate Energy, the Community Investment Corporation, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association with the City of Chicago. The Residential Partnership unites non-profit groups and utility partners to connect residents to energy retrofit contractors, free energy upgrades, and equipment rebates. The City has nearly doubled its original 2-year goal of 7,750 retrofitted homes since starting the program, completing more than 15,000 in-depth upgrades and more than 100,000 households receive free efficiency products as of October 2014.

Read more about Elevate Energy’s nationally recognized building efficiency program on their website. Earlier this month, an 86-year old Chicago apartment building received one of the nation’s first ENERGY STAR® certifications for multifamily buildings after completing efficiency upgrades through Elevate Energy. Multifamily buildings receive an ENERGY STAR score of 1 to 100 accounting for the building’s energy use; buildings that score above 75 are eligible to apply for ENERGY STAR certification. The apartment building, located at 6731 S. Jeffrey Boulevard, received an ENERGY STAR score of 99, meaning that it performs better than 99 percent of similar buildings.

Retrofit Chicago – which also includes efforts to improve energy performance among residential and municipal buildings – is a key component of the Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda, Mayor Emanuel’s 3-year plan to make Chicago more livable, competitive, and sustainable.

Visit to learn more about Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative and for more information about Retrofit Chicago’s cross-sector efforts. A full list of participants can be found HERE. The two newest buildings to join the Commercial Buildings Initiative are located at 200 W Madison and 440 N Wells.


About Elevate Energy
Elevate Energy’s mission is to deliver smarter energy use for all. Elevate designs and implements efficiency programs that lower costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of energy efficiency reach those who need them most. Elevate Energy has worked with hundreds of building owners to upgrade more than 18,000 apartment units in the Chicago region. For more information, please visit: