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City of Chicago Requires Large Buildings to Track and Report Energy Use By June 1, 2016


May 11, 2016

Read Time

2 minutes


Owners of large buildings in Chicago must track their building’s energy use and submit their annual report to the City by June 1, 2016. The City’s list of buildings subject to the tracking and reporting obligations (Covered Buildings) is published at City of Chicago Covered Buildings.

The 2013 Chicago Energy Benchmarking ordinance requires owners of municipal, commercial and residential buildings 50,000 square feet and larger (with some exceptions) to track energy use and submit reports to the city annually, and verify data accuracy every three years. See City of Chicago Energy Benchmarking. Owners are required to use the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an on-line energy tracking tool from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. See here.

The City reports that it notified owners or management of Covered Buildings of their ongoing obligations under the Ordinance.

Though owners of large commercial buildings and residential buildings over 250,000 square feet should have filed their initial reports in 2014 and 2015, they must track energy use and file reports on an annual basis. On June 1, the ordinance applies for the first time to residential buildings 50,000 -250,000 square feet. Penalties for non-compliance with the benchmarking ordinance are $100 for the first violation and an additional fine of up to $25/day that the violation continues.

The City recently stated that 1,840 commercial, institutional and residential property properties reported in 2015. It added that energy performance scores were higher (less energy use) in Chicago than national median levels. While the energy benchmarking ordinance requires owners to expend resources to monitor their energy use, the process often results in savings. As owners focus on energy consumption, they often consider how they can operate buildings more efficiently, and then take steps (often quite simple) to reduce energy use.

Further information and recommended steps to comply with the ordinance can be found at the City of Chicago’s website at:
Benchmarking Guide
Benchmarking Checklist



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