Chicago Energy Benchmarking


In September 2013, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago’s City Council adopted a building energy benchmarking ordinance to raise awareness of energy performance through information and transparency, with the goal of unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities for businesses and residents.

Chicago's Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance calls on existing municipal, commercial, and residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to track whole-building energy use, report to the City annually, and verify data accuracy every three years.  The law covers less than 1% of Chicago’s buildings, which account for ~20% of total energy used by all buildings.

Improving energy efficiency is a key element of Sustainable Chicago 2015, Mayor Emanuel’s 3-year action agenda to make Chicago more livable, competitive, and sustainable. (Click here to view the ordinance text and rules and regulations.)

2015 Compliance

In 2015, the Ordinance applies to commercial and municipal buildings larger than 50,000 square feet and residential buildings larger than 250,000 square feet. Next year in 2016, the Ordinance will apply to residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. Also, all complete submissions received by August 1st, 2015 will be treated as in compliance with the ordinance this year.  After 2015, June 1st will remain the ongoing annual deadline.

Buildings reporting for the first time in 2015 are required to benchmark, verify, and report data; nonresidential buildings over 250,000 square feet that reported in 2014 will benchmark and report, but are not required to verify data until 2017.

Buildings covered in 2015 should have received a notification letter earlier this year. If you believe your building is covered but did not receive a letter, you may request information online (link); for any questions about this form, please contact the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Help Center at (855) 858-6878 (M-F 9am-5pm) or by email to:

In addition to the Benchmarking Help Center, numerous other support opportunities are available, including free trainings, pro-bono data verification for buildings in-need, and online guidance materials.

For more information, please visit the City of Chicago's Benchmarking website here, which includes free step-by-step guidance materials, signups for free benchmarking trainings, and additional details.


2014 Building Energy Benchmarking Report

In December 2014, the City of Chicago released the initial building energy benchmarking report.

The report represents results from the first round of city-wide energy benchmarking for large buildings.

The findings are presented in a highly-detailed, data-driven and nuanced portrait showing how building managers are unlocking the economic potential of energy efficient management. 

Click the cover below to read the full report:

Click the infographic below for 2014 Energy-At-a-Glance findings: