Chicago Building Retrofit Plan Hopes to Reduce Energy Use By 20% By 2017

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has voiced his support for President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge to make the built environment more energy efficient. The Chicago Infrastructure Trust that the mayor is assembling is taking as its first task retrofitting several buildings.

This asserts the city’s commitment to reduce its energy use by 20 percent across nearly 24 million square feet of public and private building space within the next five years.

To meet the terms of the president’s challenge, Chicago plans to upgrade 10 million square feet of City-owned buildings and nearly 14 million square feet of privately owned buildings that have already signed on to partner with the City on energy efficient retrofits and technologies. The idea here — as in the widely publicized energy efficient retrofit of New York’s Empire State Building — is that models and best practices can emerge through these projects that will form a road map that other commercial building owners and managers can follow in reducing their energy costs.

If you are interested in learning more about energy systems and green design, Roosevelt seminars including SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning and SUST 310 Energy and Climate Change may be of interest. For more information on these or any other of our courses, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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