On June 4th, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that 14 of Chicago’s commercial building will undergo energy efficiency upgrades to save 20% on their electricity use within the next 5 years, saving more than $5 million per year and creating over 100 local jobs. Called the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative, the project is part of the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Challenge, which is a national program to challenge both private and public sector leaders across the country to invest in making commercial buildings more energy efficient.
The Energy Future Coalition has been working to increase energy efficiency investments in Chicago’s commercial buildings through our Jump Start Chicago initiative, has worked closely with the Mayor’s team, has coordinated efforts by many of the stakeholders recognized in the Mayor’s announcement, and sees the announcement as a significant sign of successful progress in our work. We applaud the Mayor’s commitment to reducing energy waste in the Windy City and look forward to advancing the cause.
In addition to the City of Chicago, six new private sector companies joined the Better Buildings Challenge. Starbucks, Staples, and The J.R. Simplot Company (one of the largest food and agribusiness companies in the United States) committed to making more than 50 million square feet of building space 20% more energy efficiency by 2020. Pacific Gas and Electric, a public utility based in California, committed to expanding its energy efficiency programs for 30 million square feet of commercial building customers.
To assist in funding these projects, Samas Capital and Greenwood Energy committed a combined $200 million. Samas Capital has promised to execute $150 million worth of commercial building property-assessed clean energy (PACE) energy efficiency projects over the next 18 months, and Greenwood Energy is committing to invest $50 million in commercial building energy efficiency projects over the same timeframe.
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