Friday, January 11, 2019

Chicago Beats Better Buildings Challenge in Just Five Years

Recently, the city of Chicago announced it met its energy efficiency
goal five years ahead of schedule. The energy savings have
translated to more money and new jobs in the city.

Last week, the city of Chicago announced that it had met its Better Buildings Challenge goal five years ahead of schedule. Set back in 2012, Chicago committed to reducing its energy use by 20 percent over the next ten years. However, after just six years Chicago has reduced its energy use intensity by 22 percent.

Part of a Department of Energy (DOE) energy efficiency campaign, the Better Buildings Challenge asked cities across the United States to reduce energy use intensity. The challenge encouraged cities to use sustainable design practices to improve the energy performance of existing buildings.

When Chicago joined the Better Buildings Challenge, it launched Retrofit Chicago, a city-wide energy efficiency program. The program provides resources for commercial residential, and municipal buildings to implement energy efficient renovations. As a result, Chicago was able to provide building retrofits, smart HVAC systems, energy-saving LED lights, and more improvements to residents who could not otherwise afford them.

The Chicago Better Buildings Challenge has a made a big impact on the city. The reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission has helped improved the city's air quality. Additionally, the initiative has created more jobs for energy auditors, building performance analysts, and other contractors with energy efficiency experience. But most importantly for developers and residents alike, the energy efficiency campaign has reduced utility bills and operational costs for structures. Chicago has cumulatively saved almost $48 million in energy costs due to the challenge.

The Department of Energy isn't the first entity to recognize Chicago for its commitment to sustainable design. Previously, the city won awards in both 2017 and 2015 for green building and eco-friendly upgrades. The city was recognized by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for having 70% of its office spaces being LEED or ENERGY STAR certified.

To learn more about Chicago's Better Buildings Challenge, visit the Better Buildings website. To learn more about energy efficiency and how to get involved in this dynamic career path, visit Zack Academy.

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