Today, Mayor Emanuel announced that the Retrofit Chicago program will be extended to commercial buildings. The Mayor announced that 14 buildings, totaling 14 million square feet, have signed on to join the Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative, saving more than $5 million a year in energy costs. Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Building Initiative is a voluntary leadership effort to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings larger than 200,000 square feet, and, in conjunction with the municipal buildings already included in Retrofit Chicago, will allow the City of Chicago to join the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Challenge.
“Today is a major step forward for the City of Chicago, as we create a private sector complement for the work we are doing to ensure energy efficiency in our municipal buildings and infrastructure,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our efforts in the public sector will save over $20 million a year in wasted energy costs while creating more than 1,000 jobs. This program will add to those savings by saving more than $5 million annually in the private sector, creating important economic opportunity and more than 100 jobs.”
This effort is part of Mayor Emanuel’s vision to make Chicago the most attractive and sustainable city of the 21st century. It expands on the city’s leadership in building efficiency, energy and sustainability; Chicago already ranks #1 in buildings certified under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating systems. Chicago was recently named the most sustainable large community in America by the Siemens Sustainable Cities award. The City of Chicago is committed to finding more buildings to join the initiative, expanding the overall energy impact and savings that will be realized across the city.
The Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Challenge (http://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge) is a national leadership initiative calling on state and local officials, business executives, and community leaders to achieve tangible progress in efficiency improvement. Chicago will make an initial pledge of 20% reduction in energy use intensity across 24 million square feet, representing committed action by Chicago’s private and public buildings. The 24 million square feet represent the aforementioned 14 million square feet of private buildings, in conjunction with the 10 million square feet of municipal buildings that the City has previously announced it will retrofit as part of the first project of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust.
"Investments in energy efficiency are making the American economy more competitive by creating jobs, growing industries, reducing energy bills for families and businesses, and protecting our air and water," said Secretary Chu. "By joining the Better Buildings Challenge, Chicago is not only leading by example, but is also better positioning the city in the global economy by saving millions in energy costs."
Participating buildings in the Initiative will reduce energy use by 20% within the next 5 years, to begin work within 6 months, and to share best practices. The 14 buildings that have committed to join the initiative represent multiple architects and architectural styles and range in age from 7 to 117 years old. They range in size from 222,000 to 2.5 million square feet. When this work is done, collectively the buildings will save over $5 million a year, have created over 100 jobs and have a carbon impact equivalent to taking over 8,000 cars off the road.
The Retrofit Chicago Commercial Business Initiative is supported by a number of partners, including Building Owners & Managers Association of Chicago, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – Clinton Climate Initiative, Civic Consulting Alliance, ComEd, Peoples Gas, Natural Resources Defense Council, Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group, Sieben Energy Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, and The Joyce Foundation, among others.
Participating buildings are: