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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

First Public Data from Chicago’s Energy Ordinance Show Both Strong and Weak Performers

First Public Data from Chicago’s Energy Ordinance Show Both Strong and Weak Performers

By June 1, owners or managers of essentially all buildings in Chicago larger than 50,000 square feet were required to submit their 2015 energy usage data to the City. This is the third year that some have had to report their data; for others, it is their first year of compliance. Back in September 2013, Chicago joined a handful of other U.S. cities when it became the latest to adopt a building energy benchmarking ordinance. Through the impact of the ordinance, the City of Chicago hopes "to raise awareness of energy performance through information and transparency, with the goal of unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities."

In December 2015, the City of Chicago made public the 2014 energy usage data and ENERGY STAR scores (for those buildings that can receive scores) for commercial and institutional buildings larger than 250,000 square feet. The spreadsheet, presenting data for 243 buildings (predominantly offices, hospitals, K-12 schools, and colleges/universities), can be downloaded from the City's Data Portal.

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A Strong, Silent, 350-Mile-Wide Voice in Washington

The United States has not adopted into federal law an advanced energy policy that targets energy production and consumption with respect to climate impact. Despite a lot of talk and a handful of bills proposed in Congress since President Obama's inauguration a year and a half ago, no comprehensive legislation has been able to pass both the House and Senate. A handful of bills have been proposed. None of the efforts to date was able to garner significant political momentum or public support. Healthcare and finance reform have stolen the show, and the headlines.

But all this changed when tragedies at a coal mine in West Virginia and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in dozens of human casualties and cast America's attention on fossil fuels. How Congress will respond depends on many variables, and nobody knows for certain whether any climate (or even energy) legislation will become law by January 2011. But trends indicate that if no comprehensive package emerges from Capitol Hill, states and regions will continue to strengthen their own environmental standards, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may assert its authority to control pollution widely viewed as an anthropogenic cause of climate change.

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