Chicago energy benchmarking program - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Energy Efficiency  -  January 20, 2017

Chicago energy benchmarking drives $17M+ in savings

Chicago properties involved in the city's energy benchmarking program have saved $17.8 million on energy bills since the program's inception three years ago, according to a new report. 

The Windy City's building energy benchmarking ordinance was adopted in 2013 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel with the goal of raise awareness of energy performance through information and transparency, with the goal of unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities. The city recently released its third annual report on the program, which is currently tracking the energy use of close to 2,700 properties.

The city said an estimated $17.8 million has already been saved from the energy bills of the more than 1,200 properties that have benchmarked and reported for either two or three consecutive years.

"These results provide concrete evidence that regular benchmarking and reporting helps support increased efficiency, leading to lower utility costs, and improved building performance," the city said in the report. 

Properties that reported consistently for three consecutive years reduced energy use by 4%, leading to an estimated savings of $11.6 million per year, according to the report. That group of buildings also reportedly improved their U.S. EPA Energy Star scores by 6.6%. Properties with two consecutive years of reporting saw a collective energy reduction of 1.9%, saving an estimated $6.2 million per year and improving their Energy Star scores by 7.8%, according to the report. 

Among the findings from three years of benchmarking was at least one significant opportunity: The city reported that up to 25% of energy in buildings is likely being wasted; addressing that waste could save anywhere from $110 million to $214 million per year. 

The city also noted a 45% increase in the number of properties participating in the program between 2015 and 2016, and a sevenfold increase from the 2014 number. According to the report, the 2,695 participating properties represent 23% of citywide energy use.

"The progress summarized in this report continues to demonstrate that we can collaborate to strengthen our economy; support clean, high-wage jobs; and protect the environment," Mayor Emanuel said in the report. "Improving energy efficiency is a key strategy that is good for business, good for residents, and good for strengthening our neighborhoods." 

 


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