February 1, 2018

Mayor Emanuel Announces Working Group for the Recently Launched Chicago Energy Rating System

Energy Rating System builds on the success of Retrofit Chicago, which now includes 85 participating properties that collectively generate $10.6 million in annual energy savings
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a Working Group that will work with the City to implement the Chicago Energy Rating System, which will to make energy use information for large buildings easily accessible to Chicagoans while encouraging energy savings. The first of its kind in the country, the ordinance will use buildings existing and publicly available energy data alongside recent energy improvements to rate buildings on a zero to four star scale. With the help of the Working Group, the Energy Rating System will be implemented in 2019.

“With the help of our Working Group, the Chicago Energy Rating System will help us provide a simple, transparent way to show the energy consumption of our large buildings,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our environmental interest is our economic interest, and this system will help drive solutions to save energy, reduce costs and improve building performance, all while supporting clean 21st-century jobs.”

The Energy Rating System imposes no additional cost and will apply to the 3,500 properties already required to annually benchmark energy data under the City’s existing Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. These buildings currently receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, and the system will use the building’s most recent score and recent energy improvements to calculate the star rating. Once implemented, buildings will post ratings in a prominent location, and share this information at the time of sale or lease listing. The Working Group who will advise on implementation of the system includes:

  • Chris Wheat, Chair, Chicago Mayor’s Office
  • Dean Lerner, Second Vice President of ABOMA, and additional ABOMA members
  • Stefen Samarripas, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
  • Mallory Schaus and Maria Lupo, ASHRAE Illinois
  • Ron Tabaczynski, BOMA-Chicago, and additional BOMA-Chicago members
  • Beth Wanless, Chicago Association of REALTORS
  • Michael Mini, Chicagoland Apartment Association
  • Richard Tonielli, ComEd
  • Cliff Majersik, Institute for Market Transformation
  • Katherine McCormick, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Christina Pagnusat, Peoples Gas

“The Chicago Association of REALTORS appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with the City of Chicago and have a voice in implementing the Chicago Energy Rating System,” said Beth Wanless of the Chicago Association of REALTORS. “Collaboration from property owners is a key component in the success of the new rating system and we look forward to getting to work in the coming weeks.”

Buildings with one to three stars can earn an additional star by improving their ENERGY STAR score by 10 points or more. If all buildings with ENERGY STAR scores below 90 were to improve their scores by only 10 points to earn one additional star in the new Rating, buildings would see savings of over $70 million per year. In addition. the investments needed to achieve these savings would generate over 1,000 clean energy jobs.

While reporting will continue to be mandated, buildings will not be required to make changes to improve energy efficiency. Buildings that do not comply with the energy benchmarking ordinance will receive zero out of four stars. In addition to posting the star rating publicly on site and providing it at the time of sale or lease, the City will post ratings on the Chicago Data Portal. More information on the current benchmarking ordinance and the Mayor’s Energy Rating System can be found at www.CityofChicago.org/EnergyBenchmarking.

The Chicago Energy Rating Systems builds on the success of Retrofit Chicago, the city’s voluntary energy efficiency challenge program, which now includes 85 participating properties that generate $10.6 million in annual savings. The nine new properties joining the Challenge since April 2017 include:

  • 555 West Cornelia
  • 70 West Madison
  • Broadway Armory of the Chicago Park District
  • Herman Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Perlstein Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Pulaski Park of the Chicago Park District
  • Siegel Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Wishnick Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology

The annual energy savings were generated by reducing weather normalized energy use by 14.5 percent, an improvement over the 11.7 percent reduction and $6.4 million in savings from 2015. Currently, 22 buildings have met or exceeded the 20% energy reduction target as part of the Challenge, up from 13 buildings that had done so by 2016.

Retrofit Chicago continues to be one of the largest voluntary energy efficiency programs in the country. The new participants include two recreational facilities owned by the Chicago Park District, one new office building, one new condominium building, and five properties owned and operated by the Illinois Institute of Technology. All except one of the new properties are located outside of Chicago’s central business district, due to the continued spread of the program to all communities across the City. Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge participants have saved 145 million kilowatt-hours per year, equivalent to powering over 13,000 homes in one year.

In 2017, the City of Chicago was awarded the prestigious C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Award for the Retrofit Chicago program, which recognizes the world’s most inspiring and innovative cities taking major climate action. Chicago was also awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award. The award is given annually to honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency and recognized the four years of successful implementation of the City’s Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. The award also recognized Retrofit Chicago.

For more information about Retrofit Chicago, visit www.RetrofitChicago.net.