Approximately 3,500 buildings over 50,000 square feet are now required to track and verify energy consumption due to the benchmarking ordinance recently approved by the Chicago City Council.
The ordinance, introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, requires commercial, large multifamily, and municipal buildings to report energy use data to the city each year and have their data verified by a recognized professional every three years. Buildings must benchmark and track with the EPA’s free Portfolio Manager tool. The city will also publicly disclose data for individual buildings starting in June 2015.
However, the city is phasing in the plan gradually – buildings over 250,000 square feet will report in June 2014, followed by buildings between 50,000-250,000 in June 2015. Residential buildings in each group have an extra year to achieve compliance.
An energy savings of 5% from the buildings covered by the ordinance would save the facilities $250 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 50,000 cars, according to a city statement. Chicago joins eight other cities and two states that already require energy benchmarking.