Marking another milestone in the City’s efforts to accelerate energy efficiency, Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the further expansion of Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative. The new building participants, including 11 higher education facilities, four commercial office buildings, and one cultural institution, have committed to at least 20 percent energy efficiency improvement within five years. This announcement expands the total program reach to 48 buildings and 37 million square feet, making Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative one of the largest private sector voluntary efficiency programs in the country.
“Retrofit Chicago participants are leading a rising private sector energy movement that demonstrates how efficiency makes good business sense and good sense for our environment,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These buildings’ operational and capital improvements are saving money, reducing carbon emissions, creating 21st century jobs, and lowering the cost of doing business in Chicago.”
To-date, current program participants have collectively achieved a seven percent reduction in total source energy use, with accompanying annual energy cost savings of $2.5 million and greenhouse gas emissions reductions equivalent to removing 5,800 cars from the road. Upon reaching the 20 percent improvement target, all 48 building participants have potential to save more than 150 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while creating hundreds of local jobs in the growing clean energy economy. Participants’ progress to-date results from a combination of operational improvements, energy-efficient technology, and tenant engagement to reduce energy use.
Chicago residents, businesses and governments spend more than $3 billion per year on energy costs, and building energy use represents 71 percent of Chicago’s total greenhouse gas emissions, making energy efficiency a critical economic and environmental opportunity.
“We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint by implementing a 30-year Sustainable Master Plan that addresses energy, water, waste, transportation and community. We are thrilled to participate in the Retrofit Chicago program, to maximize our energy efficiency and to enhance the quality of life for Chicagoans”, said Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of new Retrofit Chicago participant Navy Pier.”
By joining the program, Commercial Buildings Initiative participants receive access to utility incentives, peer dialogue and lesson-sharing, expedited permits and facility-specific technical support opportunities through the City and its partners. Through a 2013 effort sponsored by the U.S Department of Energy and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 19 of Retrofit Chicago’s commercial building participants received no-cost technical and financial road map studies valued at $25,000 per building. Road map analysis identified total energy savings opportunity of $5 million per year, including average savings of $250,000 per participating facility. Building analysis focused on the financial as well as environmental case for energy efficiency, with average internal rates of return on efficiency investments of eight to ten percent
Coinciding with the City’s announcement, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report documenting best practices and key lessons learned in the first two years of the Initiative. The report’s detailed analysis on the approaches taken to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency improvements in the commercial sector, and how interested commercial markets can implement similar initiatives to reduce energy and maximize energy savings locally can be found The report’s detailed analysis on the approaches taken to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency improvements in the commercial sector, and how interested commercial markets can implement similar initiatives to reduce energy and maximize energy savings locally can be found here.
Mayor Emanuel launched this effort in June of 2012 with former US Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu. Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative comprises a significant portion of the City of Chicago’s participation in the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative (http://www.eere.energy.gov).
Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative is a collaboration of the City of Chicago, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, ComEd, Peoples Gas, Environmental Defense Fund, the Alliance to Retrofit Chicago Higher Education and the City Energy Project, among other local and national real estate and energy stakeholders. The program also draws on sponsorship and technical support from The Joyce Foundation, World Business Chicago, BOMA/Chicago, CB&I, PositivEnergy Practice, US Equities, and Sieben Energy Associates. To-date, participants have received more than $2 million in utility incentive funding through ComEd and People’s Gas to support specific energy efficiency performance improvements.
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.
Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative Participants:
New Higher Education Sector Participants:
New Commercial Office Building Participants:
New Cultural Institution Participant: