Leadership Honored at 2016 Retrofit Chicago Awards

Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge Awards recognize leadership in building energy efficiency.
Retrofit Chicago Ceremony
Deputy Mayor Steve Koch presents at 2016 Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge awards ceremony.
Credit: Photography courtesy of the City of Chicago

Last week, 200 of Chicago’s real estate and energy efficiency professionals gathered at the third annual Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge Awards & Celebration to toast energy efficiency and recognize the buildings and individuals who are leaders in improving building energy performance. Deputy Mayor Steve Koch was on hand to deliver a timely speech on the important role that cities play in tackling energy waste, increasing clean job growth, and developing innovative ways to curb emissions to combat climate change. Chicago has been on the forefront of climate action for over a decade and will continue to be a leader in the coming years—including an ambitious expansion of the Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge.

The Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge is a voluntary program, led by the City and supported by local nonprofit and technical partners, which asks participants to commit to reducing energy consumption 20 percent within five years. In 2016, participation in Retrofit Chicago’s Energy Challenge topped 62 participating buildings and over 43 million square feet that have committed to 20% energy efficiency improvement, making Chicago’s program one of the largest in the nation.

The night’s celebration recognized eleven properties for outstanding achievements in building energy efficiency.  Winner buildings range in age from over 100 years old to just 26 years old. There were commercial office properties, university laboratory buildings, a university library, and a nonprofit mixed use building. The pathway to success for each of the properties was unique, but all of the properties share a commitment to identifying and following through with energy reduction opportunities, and a willingness to leverage the many resources that exist for energy efficiency. Through a combination of operational and capital improvements, all of the properties have exceeded the 20 percent energy reduction goal, and all did so prior to their target year.

The buildings that were inducted into the Mayor’s Leadership Circle in 2016 are:

  • The AT&T Building at 225 West Randolph Street (25% energy reduction)
  • The Rookery Building at 209 South LaSalle Street (24%)
  • The Fifth Third Center at 222 South Riverside Plaza (21%)
  • The Railway Exchange Building at 224 South Michigan Avenue (23%)
  • DePaul University’s Richardson Library (24%)
  • The School of the Art Institute of Chicago at 280 South Columbus Drive (33%)
  • The Inland Steel Building at 30 South Monroe Street (23%)
  • 333 North Michigan Avenue (21%)
  • The ICA Greenrise Uptown Learning Laboratory at 4750 North Sheridan Road (23%)
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago (two buildings awarded)
    • Science & Engineering Building South (28%)
    • Science & Engineering Laboratories East and the Science & Engineering Laboratories West (38%)

Individual awards were given to the people and projects that have gone above-and-beyond expectations, have achieved deep energy savings in their properties, and have demonstrated leadership in the real estate community. The 2016 recipients are:

Most Valuable Engineer (two recipients)

  • Kevin Kennelly, 200 West Madison Street
  • Anthony A. Marzano, 77 West Wacker Drive

Most Valuable Manager

  • Steve Kamykowski, Kimpton Hotels​

Most Innovative Project

  • Roosevelt Revolving Loan Fund from Roosevelt University

The ceremony was held at the Hotel Allegro, a Kimpton property, which is a participant in the Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge and itself is on track to meet its energy savings goal since joining the program in 2013. The event would not have been possible without generous sponsorship from ComEd, Peoples Gas, Kimpton Hotels, John Buck Company, Tishman Speyer, CB&I, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and the City Energy Project. 

Retrofit Chicago Awards Reception
Attendees mingle at 2016 Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge Awards
Credit: Courtesy of the City of Chicago

Above all else, perhaps the most compelling part of the night was the opportunity to have the Retrofit Chicago community all together in one room, honoring the people and projects that have helped the buildings generate more than $6.4 million in annual energy cost savings. This community shares a commitment to practical solutions that improve the energy efficiency of Chicago’s buildings, which undoubtedly cuts energy waste, reduces harmful pollution, and makes our city a healthier, more prosperous place to live and work.


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