Building Owners Must Publish Energy Statistics
The law is part of a broader plan to reduce energy use in Chicago buildings, as the City Council aims to cut energy usage in Chicago structures by 50 percent in the next seven years. According to sources, buildings in the Windy City account for more than two-thirds of all energy use, despite recent moves to install more efficient technology in newly constructed buildings.
Under the terms of the new rule, buildings larger than 50,000 square feet will be forced to publish data about how much energy they consume each month. The data, which will also include information about building size and occupancy levels, will be entered into a software program monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The program will then compare the relative energy efficiency of comparable buildings of comparable size, which will presumably push owners to reduce their energy usage.
New Energy Usage Plan Upsets Local Landlords
Of course, the law has been met with plenty of criticism. Opponents of the new rule call it a type of “public shaming” that could be a competitive disadvantage for some building owners. Those who stand to lose the most from the law could be Chicago landlords, as residential buildings tend to be highly competitive.
Supporters of the law, however, believe that Chicago tenants should know more about their apartment buildings’ energy statistics. Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the regulation with a string of analogies: “Do you check the mileage before you purchase a car? Do you check the energy-efficiency of a utility before you purchase it? Do you do comparative? What is wrong with providing people information?”