Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is one of the largest school districts in the nation, serving over 330,000 students in more than 600 schools. With a building portfolio covering more than 62 million square feet across 1,000 structures, CPS is dedicated to reducing its energy and emission consumptions and environmental impact.

CPS committed to both the Better Buildings Challenge in early 2022 and the Better Climate Challenge in 2023 in conjunction with the publication of its first Climate Action Plan (CAP), which outlines a strategy to be carbon neutral by 2050 and use 100% renewable electricity by 2025, in addition to implementing other environmental protection measures. A large component of this plan are twin goals for energy: reduce electricity use by 30% and reduce natural gas use by 20% by 2025. The CAP outlines a plan to Conserve, Protect, and Sustain environmental resources and support the communities CPS serves. The CAP serves as a foundational climate action document for CPS to build upon as the district moves towards carbon neutrality by 2050.



50% GHG reductions by 2033 from a 2019 baseline
20% reduction in Energy Intensity


Better Climate Challenge   Better Buildings Challenge


The commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge and Better Climate Challenge reinforces existing efforts to improve facilities to ensure safe and comfortable environments for teachers, students, and staff. CPS addresses these responsibilities through smart energy conservation measures including HVAC upgrades, lighting retrofits, BAS optimization, real-time metering, and promoting a culture of energy conservation within CPS. 

To achieve these goals, CPS has outlined a path forward through both increasing energy efficiency and energy sourced from renewables to decrease emissions. CPS uses funding from local energy utilities to install energy-saving equipment and technologies. New buildings will be commissioned only if adequately energy efficient, and older buildings will be inspected and retrofitted to improve their efficiency.

With a focus on transparency, CPS Energy and Sustainability staff will work with community stakeholders and vendors to analyze energy consumption, identify opportunities to improve efficiency, and work to implement cutting-edge technology in schools.

Chicago Public Schools looks forward to taking advantage of the resources and ambitious examples provided to them by the Better Buildings Challenge and Better Climate Challenge and hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions on a large scale over the next several years and beyond.

Climate Challenge Commitment
62 Million Square Feet
Buildings Challenge Commitment
64Million Square Feet
GHG Emissions Goals
50%Reduction in Scope 1 & 2 Emissions
Energy Goals
20%Reduction in Energy Intensity