Chicago, IL: Energy performance

Energy Performance
Average Annual % Improvement4.3%

Better Buildings Challenge partners strive to report whole building data for all properties within their portfolio. Community partners work with building owners in their communities to develop local programs for reporting on energy data. Retrofit Chicago is the City of Chicago's voluntary energy efficiency leadership effort to encourage, support, and celebrate citywide energy performance improvement in municipal, commercial, and residential buildings. Since Retrofit Chicago's launch in 2012, the City has tracked participant progress toward sector-specific energy efficiency goals. Through its Better Buildings Challenge commitment, Chicago reports energy savings in public and private Retrofit Chicago participant facilities that span 24 million square feet.

Chicago, IL

Better Buildings Challenge Partners strive to decrease portfolio-wide source energy use intensity (EUI) and to increase the percent improvement compared to a set baseline. Chicago's portfolio consists of approximately 40 buildings and 24 million square feet. Chicago has improved energy performance by an average of 4.3% per year from a 2011 baseline, which is comparable to a 22% cumulative improvement. As a result, Chicago has met and exceeded its 20% savings goal in advance of the city's goal year of 2022. Common energy conservation measures include LED lighting upgrades, investment in high-efficiency HVAC equipment, building automation systems, occupancy sensors, and tenant engagement.


Looking at the percent improvement in energy performance across all facilities can provide insight into how an organization is saving energy. Retrofit Chicago participants are rising to the challenge of energy performance improvement. More than half of Chicago's Better Buildings Challenge facilities have reduced whole-building energy use by more than 15%, with some buildings achieving as much as 40% savings. The program also facilitates peer-to-peer learning and showcases efficiency approaches and technologies to help all building participants work toward their energy goals.


Property-level energy performance metrics, including EUI and percent improvement to date, are critical to track progress over time and identify opportunities for additional energy savings. Chicago's Better Buildings Challenge portfolio includes properties that house a wide range of activities and energy uses, including commercial offices, public libraries, police and fire facilities, and advanced university laboratories. By tracking energy improvement over time, Retrofit Chicago is demonstrating that buildings of all types, vintages, and sectors can benefit from energy efficiency.