Chicago Energy Rating

Chicago Energy Rating System

On November 21st, 2017, the Chicago City Council created the Chicago Energy Rating System with the goals of improving the visibility and transparency of the information reported under the existing Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance (adopted in 2013). The original Energy Benchmarking Ordinance requires large buildings (those 50,000 square feet or greater) to report energy use once per year, with additional data verification required every 3 years. The Chicago Energy Rating System updates from 2017 do not change the reporting requirements, but instead are intended to make the reported information more visible and easier to understand. A summary of the changes and some of the benefits are provided in this summary, and this FAQ document provides answers to frequently asked questions. The full ordinance adopted in 2017 can be downloaded here and the ordinance rules and regulations are here.

Overview and Timeline

In summary, the updates will create a new Chicago Energy Rating system starting in 2019 for buildings required to benchmark and report their energy use (which includes most properties that are 50,000 square feet or larger in size located in the City of Chicago). The first ratings will be assigned after energy benchmarking reports are due on June 1, 2019, between late August and mid-September, 2019. Once the first ratings are assigned in 2019, building owners will receive an initial six-month grace period, and then will be required to post their Chicago Energy Rating Placard on site in a prominent location after the end of this initial grace period. Property owners may voluntarily choose to post their Placards during this initial six-month grace period. 

How Ratings are Assigned

A rating of four stars indicates the highest energy performance, while a rating of one star indicates a poor performer. Properties that have not submitted energy benchmarking information will receive zero out of four stars.

Approximately 85% of properties that report their data to the City of Chicago receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score from the energy benchmarking software, known as Portfolio Manager. Properties in compliance with benchmarking reporting will receive between one and four stars on a four-star rating system, based on their 1-100 ENERGY STAR score. Properties with one, two, or three stars will be able to earn an additional star if they have improved by at least 10 points in the past two reporting years. Properties that are not eligible to receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score (approximately fifteen percent of reporting properties) will receive a rating based on energy use per square foot in comparison to national medians for properties of a similar size and type. 

For properties that receive an ENERGY STAR score, the initial ratings will be based on the following scale:

Chicago Energy Rating System Scoring

Approximately 15% of the buildings that currently are in compliance with the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance are not able to receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR Score. For properties that are not able to receive an ENERGY STAR score, the Chicago Energy Rating will be based on the building's source energy use intensity (EUI), which is energy use per square foot, in comparison to national medians for buildings of the same property type. The lower the percentile for Source EUI, the better, as a lower EUI indicates less energy use per square foot. The scale is based on the following scale:

  • 1st to 25th percentile for Source EUI: 4 stars
  • 25th to 50th percentile for Source EUI: 3 stars
  • 50th to 75th percentile for Source EUI: 2 stars
  • Above the 75th percentile for Source EUI: 1 star
  • Any building with 1, 2, or 3 stars with a 10% improvement in the past 2 years earns an extra star

How to Improve Your Chicago Energy Rating

The City of Chicago does not require building owners to make improvements or to reach a certain energy rating, but highly encourages such activity. There are many low- or no-cost opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Click here for a short checklist on how to start improving energy efficiency at your building.

What Building Owners Need to Do

1. Ensure you are in compliance with energy benchmarking: Building owners should ensure they are in full compliance with the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance by June 1st every year. Any building owner out of compliance will receive zero out of four stars in the new Chicago Energy Rating System. Detailed instructions on how to comply are found online at: www.CityofChicago.org/EnergyBenchmarking. A free Help Center is also available at (855) 858-6878 (M-F, 9am-5pm) or by email to: Info@ChicagoEnergyBenchmarking.org

2. Make sure you receive a Chicago Energy Rating Placard: Starting in mid August 2019, building owners will receive their Chicago Energy Rating Placard by mail. All Placards will be mailed by mid September, 2019. If you do not receive your Placard by mail, you will be able to download a version from this website - check back in late September 2019 for the downloading instructions.

3. Post the Chicago Energy Rating Placard and share at time of listing for sale or lease after the initial grace period: The first ratings will be assigned and provided in August - September 2019. For 2019 only, buildng owners will have a six-month grace period. Once this grace period ends, building owners will be required to post their Chicago Energy Rating Placard in a prominent location. Building owners will also be required to share the Placard or their rating at time of listing for lease or sale after the grace period ends. 

What the Placards Look Like

A draft mock-up of the rating placard is provided below. The placards will be 11 inches by 17 inches and printed on a thick piece of paper with an adhesive backing that can be attached to a wall or window. Alternatively, users can frame and hang it up or use their own adhesive to attach it to a prominent location at the building.

 

DRAFT Mock-up of the new Chicago Energy Rating. Stars will be assigned based on the property's 1-100 ENERGY STAR Score (or in some cases, by energy use per square foot).

Questions

Contact the City's Help Center at: at (855) 858-6878 (M-F, 9am-5pm) or by email to: Info@ChicagoEnergyBenchmarking.org

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