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City Council Passes Benchmarking Amendments

December 13, 2017


The City Council voted 48-2 in favor of amendments to the Chicago Benchmarking Ordinance that will create a zero-to-four-star rating system for benchmarked buildings. The amendment will also require conspicuous posting of the rating.

BOMA/Chicago opposed the creation of a rating system arguing that the US Energy Star Score was a nationally recognized, uniform and understood measurement of energy efficiency. BOMA/Chicago believes that further reducing the score to a four-star scale rating only magnifies its inaccuracy and diminishes the value of the benchmarking results, while adding another layer of unnecessary complexity and bureaucracy.

The City and proponents of the energy performance rating believed that it would be more easily communicated to the public and would increase transparency of the energy data. The rating will be generated by the data already reported to the City. There will be no additional cost or requirement for buildings other than the conspicuous posting of a placard showing the rating.

While the energy performance rating will be something for buildings to deal with in 2019, BOMA/Chicago members will not be faced with mandatory audits and retro-commissioning which were both part of an original proposal discussed with the City. Agreement was reached with the City regarding those issues, but not on the energy performance rating. BOMA/Chicago will continue to work with the City during the rulemaking process to deal with operational issues regarding the posting of the rating placard. The placards are not expected to be in place until late summer of fall of 2019.