Chicago’s energy is responsible for up to 71% of its greenhouse emissions. (Sustainable Chicago, Action Agenda, 2015) The city of Chicago uses energy in almost everything so that it may be as efficient as possible. Simply, the buildings in the city need energy to function. As of 2012, the city of Chicago has implemented the Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. The goal of the ordinance is to raise awareness about clean energy, keep the owners of the buildings responsible about their energy use, and to help save costs. According to the official site of Chicago, “Chicago’s Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance (ordinance text, implementation rules & regulations) calls on existing commercial, institutional, and residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to track whole-building energy use, report to the City annually, and verify data accuracy every three years. The law covers less than 1% of Chicago’s buildings, which account for ~20% of total energy used by all buildings.” I believe that even though this law is only for a small amount of buildings in Chicago it affects the whole city of Chicago. The ordinance is showing the owners of these buildings that their energy use affects the environment and that they need to be held responsible for it. In lecture, we learned about the fifty year initiative and how energy has a significant impact on a city’s ability to be sustainable. The top three energy outcomes for the next fifty years is, energy security, stable climate, and economic development and growth. (Energy Sustainable Cities, class lecture) I believe that the energy benchmarking ordinance is helping Chicago strive for those three outcomes within the next fifty years. These buildings account for 20% of Chicago’s energy use and need to be held responsible for the impact on the environment. Chicago Climate Action claims that, “Beyond improving our air, switching to renewable energy offers a bonus: job creation. Growth in the manufacture of green energy technology could deliver many more dollars to the Chicago economy.” This policy has a goal to also help the environment by encouraging better green energy technology throughout the city. I believe that this policy benefits the city of Chicago’s economics and environment.
- Sustainable Chicago, Action Agenda, 2015
2. City of Chicago official site
3. Energy Sustainable Cities, Class Lecture (02/03/2016)
4. Chicago Climate Action Plan