Retrofit Chicago

According to Giuseppe Munda, the author of “Social Multi-Criteria Evaluation for Urban Sustainability Policies”, “a multi-dimensional framework involving man-made, natural, human, cultural, and social capitals is of paramount importance for a correct framing of urban sustainability”(90). These five capitals and their relationships must be kept in mind in order to implement successful and sustainable policies. Luckily, the city of Chicago had these five capitals in mind when they designed the program Retrofit Chicago. It is very costly and disruptive to tear down old buildings in Chicago, therefore, retrofitting is the next best option to improve and strengthen the buildings.

Retrofit Chicago has three dimensions: the municipal program, the commercial program, and the residential program. It is a cross-sector effort to drive energy efficiency in buildings across the city, saving money, reducing carbon emissions, and creating jobs. The Commercial Buildings Initiative of Retrofit Chicago is a voluntary leadership program for large commercial buildings to increase energy efficiency by 20% over five years and by August 2014, the program has saved $2.5 million and reduced the overall energy usage of 48 buildings by 7%. The Residential Partnership unites non-profit groups and utility companies to connected residents to retrofit contractors, free energy upgrades, and equipment rebates. As of July 2014, the partnership has saved $5.9 million and reduced 15% energy usage in retrofitted homes. Retrofit 1, a self-funding comprehensive energy efficiency program that will reduce utility and operating costs. 60 municipal buildings are saving roughly $1.4 million and reducing energy usage by 18%.

Retrofit Chicago is taking trying to utilize the man-made, human, and social capital to reduce the impacts the city makes on nature. The natural capital will grow as more people are made aware of the environmental issues and the cultural capital is multiplied when culture band together to solve a problem.



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