Chicago Passes Energy Benchmarking Requirement

ChicagoIn a 32-to-17 vote, the Chicago City Council passed the energy use benchmarking measure proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanual earlier this year. The new law requires owners of commercial, residential, and municipal buildings over 50,000 square feet to track and verify energy consumption using the EPA’s Portfolio Manager, starting in 2014. The information about individual buildings will be publicly available starting in 2015.

The Chicago Building Owners and Managers Association opposed mandating public disclosure of energy usage, saying it would penalize older buildings in terms of competitiveness. But proponents say there are no mandatory requirements to improve energy efficiency, only a requirement to benchmark energy efficiency, which could provide valuable information about energy waste.

According to the EPA, the 35,000 buildings that benchmark with Portfolio Manager have decreased their energy usage about 7 percent from 2008 to 2011.

Twelve Chicago City Council alderman delayed a vote on the benchmarking proposal in July over their concerns that older buildings with low energy scores would be at a competitive disadvantage, reports the Chicago Tribune.

About 3,500 buildings will be immediately affected by the new law, but those account for about 22 percent of the city’s total building energy consumption, according to the Chicago Tribune

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