Honoring Our Gorgeous and Efficient Skyline: Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Awards

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Tonight the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative is having its first awards ceremony, honoring one building and three building engineers who have contributed most in the early years of the program to unleash the power of energy efficiency across Chicago’s iconic skyline. 

NRDC is proud to be sponsoring the event, along with the Joyce Foundation, and is proud of the work we’ve done with many partners to launch and guide the Commercial Buildings Initiative.  Today, forty seven diverse buildings, including some of the oldest and most venerable in the city, and some of the newest as well, have joined the program pledging to reduce their energy use by 20% over five years.  Together, the partners have made substantial technical and financial resources available to ensure that the buildings are able to succeed.  We recently documented the key elements of this partnership in a report designed to show other cities how to engage building owners and managers in a similar effort.  

In the first 1.5 years of the program, the first wave of participating buildlings reduced their energy use by a collective 7%, which means 28,000 fewer tons of carbon being emitted each year, and avoids more than $2.5 million in energy costs.  That puts the project on track to hits its five-year goal.  More importantly, the leading buildings are developing strategies and gaining experience that can lead to similar improvements in the thousands of buildings across the city, and in the building owner’s broader portfolio of buildings across the country. 

We look forward to announcing the winners tonight and will tell you much more about them in a blog on Switchboard to follow immediately after the announcement.


"Red White and Blue skyline" image by jmogs via Flickr highlighting two commercial building initiative participants: Adler and Sullivan's Roosevelt University - Auditorium Building at 430 South Michigan Avenue (the white building) and CNA Headquarters at 333 South Wabash Avenue (the red building).