Chicago Launches Energy Rating System for Buildings

The city of Chicago, Illinois has created a new Chicago energy rating system starting this year for buildings required to benchmark and report their energy use (which includes most properties that are 50,000 square feet or larger in size located within the city – about 3,400 buildings). The buildings will continue to report energy use once per year, with additional data verification required every three years, with the reported information now being more visible and easier to understand.

The city does not require building owners to make improvements or to reach a certain energy rating, but highly encourages such activity and offers information on low- or no-cost opportunities to improve energy efficiency. A rating of four stars indicates the highest energy performance, while a rating of one star indicates a poor performer. Properties that have not submitted energy benchmarking information receive zero out of four stars.

Participating buildings are provided with placards illustrating their energy performance on the zero to four-star scale, which they are required to display on-site and report at the time of the building sale or lease. The city will list the ratings on the Chicago Data Portal after an initial six-month grace period for buildings to post their placards.

The Energy Rating System is part of a larger commitment to shift the city to renewable energy by 2035. Other plans include transitioning the Chicago Transit Authority’s bus fleet to electrification and decreasing the city’s overall emissions in accordance with the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, a 26-28% reduction of emissions by 2025.