A 7% reduction in less than two years was reported by early participants in a Chicago area effort to slash energy use. The owners of some of the most prominent buildings in Chicago committed to join the effort to achieve energy efficiency after hearing the early results. The goal is to do more with less – cut energy consumption by 20 percent within five years.
“There are some buildings that did their five-year commitment in the first two years,” Rebecca Stanfield, the National Resources Defense Council’s deputy director for policy for the Midwest, said. “one of the big barriers we see to an uptake in energy efficiency services is that while saving money may be high on a building executive’s list, this isn't always the stuff they’re paying attention to.”
In June 2012, the 14 buildings that initially signed up utilized a combination of retrofits – like upgrading lighting or replacing heating and ventilation systems or replacing windows. Building occupants were also educated about how to cut energy waste and technology to automate systems that consume energy was added, according to a report released by the Defense Council.
Since June 2012, 48 buildings spanning 37 million square feet have committed to the goal. The city’s goal is to cut energy use in half of the buildings in Chicago by 30% by the year 2020.
Stanfield said stakeholders in the energy efficiency program found that while utility incentive programs are available to owners of upgraded buildings, not all building owners know that there is money available.
Those working with building owners found that, at the same time, it was crucial to explain that not only the steps that could be taken to save energy immediately, but also how expenditures to save energy could lead to cost savings over time.
According to the Chicago Mayor’s office, the 7% reduction saved $2.5 million in annual energy costs, which is the equivalent of removing 5,800 cars from the road.
Source: Chicago Tribune