The Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance now applies to commercial, institutional, and residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet.
Update: All Instructions and Guidance Materials are now updated for 2019. Benchmarking reports are due by June 1, 2019.
Please scroll down for comprehensive guidance on how to comply with the benchmarking ordinance this year.
Have you benchmarked one or more buildings, and are looking to take the next steps on energy efficiency? Click here to learn about suggestions and resources for starting to improve the energy performance of your property(ies).
Questions? We can help! Call the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Help Center at (855) 858-6878 (M-F 9am-5pm) or email Info@ChicagoEnergyBenchmarking.org.
1.) Get Started: Determine whether your building must comply by reviewing the Covered Buildings List. Identify a benchmarking lead.
2.) Benchmark Your Building in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: Create an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account and property profile(s); gather basic information required by Portfolio Manager; obtain monthly, whole-building energy use data for all fuel types; enter property uses & details; enter energy use data; enter your Chicago Energy Benchmarking ID
3.) Verify Building Data: Generate a Data Verification Checklist in Portfolio Manager; have a recognized professional review and sign-off on the data; add data verifier information to Portfolio Manager. NOTE: this step is only required once every three years.
4.) Report to the City: Send required building and energy information to the City through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. NOTE: Each year, you must send data using a new URL, found on this website. Click here for the 2019 Reporting Link.
Please refer to the following materials for additional background and step-by-step instructions to help you comply with the Chicago Energy Benchmarking ordinance (the annual reporting deadline is June 1st):
Please click the following link for the most recent Covered Buildings List (City of Chicago Data Portal) of facilities that are required to comply with the Chicago Energy Benchmarking ordinance this year.
The covered buildings list also contains the 6-digit Chicago Energy Benchmarking ID assigned to each building, which must be included with each building's annual benchmarking data. Refer to the Compliance Checklist or Benchmarking Guide for additional instructions.
The Covered Buildings List also includes the next year that data verification is required for each property. All properties must complete data verification every three years.
If your building meets the ordinance criteria (i.e. commercial / institutional / residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet) but does not appear on the covered buildings list:
If a building appears on this list that you believe should not be covered by the ordinance (i.e. smaller than 50,000 square feet, and/or eligible for an exemption due to non-covered space use, financial distress, low occupancy, or new construction), please submit the corresponding request from the Building Request Form webpage.
Owners and managers of covered buildings are strongly encouraged to take advantage of aggregated electricity and natural gas data provided by Chicago utilities at no additional charge to covered buildings.
To facilitate building benchmarking, data verification, and reporting, the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance uses ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online software tool developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).
To ensure that data is being tracked and reported correctly, covered buildings must have their energy and building data reviewed and verified every three years (beginning with the first time a building complies).
The next year that your property is required to complete data verification will be listed on the most recent Covered Buildings List. It is also listed on the notification letter and email sent by the City in the spring.
The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Data Verification Checklist, signed by a trained individual whose professional license or training program credential is recognized by the City, serves as proof of data verification.
Data verifiers may be in-house building staff members or 3rd party professionals.
The City now recognizes the following data verifier licenses and training program credentials:
Additional data verifier licenses and training program credentials may be recognized by the City and posted to this website.
The City also recognizes buildings that have achieved ENERGY STAR Certification by the US Environmental Protection Agency as fulfilling the data verification requirement, provided that the building's ENERGY STAR certified data include at least six months of the calendar year for which Chicago Energy Benchmarking data verification is required.
Some covered buildings may be eligible for pro-bono data verification through the U.S. Green Building Council's Illinois Chapter, ASHRAE Illinois, AIA-Chicago, and local volunteers. Please click the following link to apply for pro-bono data verification support.
The Illinois Green Alliance maintains an online directory of companies that offer fee-for-service support for energy benchmarking, data verification, and other efficiency efforts. The Illinois Green Alliance created this directory to help interested buildings find firms that provide benchmarking-related services.
As a reminder, the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance does not require covered buildings to hire outside support. For additional details, please refer to 'How to Fulfill the Data Verification Requirement' on this page or the Compliance Checklist and Benchmarking Guide.
Note: This directory contains self-reported service provider information. Buildings should exercise all due diligence when selecting an energy service provider. The City of Chicago does not guarantee the quality or pricing of the work provided by these firms, and the firms listed in the directory do not have any affiliation with the City of Chicago.
Please click here to download the Illinois Green Alliance's Benchmarking Service Provider Directory. (The directory will download as an Excel file).
Once a building has been benchmarked in Portfolio Manager and data has been verified (if required this year), covered buildings must submit their data to the City of Chicago using the current year Chicago Energy Benchmarking Reporting Link. Note that the reporting link does change every year, and the link(s) from previous years will not allow you to comply this year.
After clicking the reporting link, users will be prompted to log into their Portfolio Manager account, which will guide them through several simple reporting steps (including selecting the building(s) on which to report, reviewing the information to be reported, and sharing that information with the City of Chicago).
Upon reporting Chicago Energy Benchmarking data to the City, some buildings may receive a follow-up email requesting additional action to 1.) provide missing required information in order to come into compliance or 2.) review data for possible errors or inaccuracies.
Please find additional instructions by following the links below:
Call the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Help Center at (855) 858-6878 (M-F, 9am-5pm) or email Info@ChicagoEnergyBenchmarking.org.
“This ordinance will help to capture the information to enable better informed real estate decisions and unlock the market for energy efficiency. We believe that this ordinance addresses key business and policy priorities in our sector, including saving money, creating local jobs, protecting our health, and promot[ing] Chicago’s position as a leading sustainable city to attract new business and succeed in the global market place.”
– Commercial and Residential Real Estate Management Executive
“Energy efficiency is not a passing fad; it has become a core value and operating principle for many of Chicago’s largest corporate tenants, condo owners, and residential tenants.”
– Commercial and Residential Real Estate Manager
“Energy [benchmarking and] disclosure [across our management portfolio of more than 1,000 buildings] has helped [condominium] board members feel comfortable making decisions to improve efficiency because they have more accurate data on which to base their decision. They are also able to better quantify the investment and return they will generate. We have found that the more informed owners are about their building’s environmental impact, the more empowered they are to improve it.”
– Residential Portfolio Director of Operations