Two major commercial building operators – JLL and Urban Innovations – have together reduced energy usage by nearly 3 million kWh annually in Chicago, moving forward the effort to reach the City’s Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative’s stated goal of reducing commercial energy use in participating buildings by 20 percent in the next five years.
JLL, operator of 77 West Wacker Drive – a Class A building – and Urban Innovations, operator of 12 Chicago Class B buildings, identified and achieved significant energy reductions through both systematic and creative techniques, aided by Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps fellows.
As a Class A building, 77 West Wacker has 50 floors, 16 tenants and 959,258 square feet of rentable space. With its all-electric infrastructure, JLL business and operational leaders partnered to identify where energy savings could be generated. By driving transparency into the data, customizing the building’s automation system, and engaging tenants on energy use, JLL reduced its annual energy use by 2 million kWh and decreased its electrical expenses by 47 percent.
Urban Innovations, like many Class B building operators, has a diverse portfolio of properties. By tracking which buildings offered the most immediate opportunities for energy savings, the company made strategic choices to upgrade equipment in some properties as part of regular maintenance and repair, while completely redeveloping other properties. As a result, Urban Innovations has reduced energy use annually by 990,000 kWh of electricity, saving $70,000 a year.
Both JLL and Urban Innovations, along with ten other Chicago buildings, hosted 2014 Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps fellows to spearhead and implement many of their energy reduction strategies.