City of Chicago Initiatives

By: | July 09, 2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated that he wants Chicago to be the greenest city in the world and BOMA/Chicago member buildings have been a major part of the City’s of innovative environmental initiatives. 

Sustainable Chicago 2015

To achieve that goal, the Mayor created the Sustainable Chicago 2015 Agenda as a roadmap and commitment for what Chicago needs to do.  The agenda is organized into seven categories critical to the sustainability of the City. It sets twenty-four specific goals and identifies key actions to take to reach those goals by 2015.

The seven categories are related and reinforce each other - success in one can lead to or amplify success in another.

There are seven categories addressed in the agenda:

  • Economic Development and Job Creation
  • Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy
  • Transportation Options
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Parks, Open Space and Healthy Food
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Climate Change

A number of individual initiatives are contained in the Sustainable Chicago 2015 agenda. More information on Sustainable Chicago 2015 can be found at:

Sustainable Chicago 2015

The Chicago Climate Action Plan

The goal of the Chicago Climate Action Plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings have been identified as a source of as much as 70 percent of all emissions in the City and are a focus of the strategies outlined in the Climate Action Plan. The main strategy is to retrofit 50 percent of commercial and industrial building stock to achieve a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions.

 As new technologies and options emerge, actions may change, the goal, however, will remain the same.

More information and a progress report on the Chicago Climate Action Plan can be found at:

Chicago Climate Action Plan

Retrofit Chicago/Commercial Buildings Initiative

The key part of the Sustainable Chicago 2015 agenda that involves commercial office buildings is the Retrofit Chicago Initiative. Retrofit Chicago’s energy efficiency pursuits will help:

  • Create Jobs
  • Save Chicagoans money
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Demonstrate Chicago’s environmental leadership.

Under the initiative, participating buildings will reduce energy use by 20% within the next 5 years, and will share best practices. Many of Chicago’s iconic buildings have stepped forward to be part of Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative, these buildings themselves are now efficiency leaders, executing cutting edge retrofits that will lower costs and battle climate change while reducing their energy use by 20% and creating a more sustainable Chicago.

More information about Retrofit Chicago/Commercial Buildings Initiative can be found at:

Retrofit Chicago/City of Chicago

Retrofit Chicago/Commercial Buildings Initiative

Green Office Challenge

Whereas many Chicago initiatives are geared towards buildings, building tenants also have the opportunity to participate in making Chicago the greenest city in the world.

The Green Office Challenge is designed to help Chicago businesses and employees demonstrate leadership to improve sustainability in the workplace and beyond. Businesses can join the Challenge to reduce energy, materials, and water consumption – and encourage  colleagues and peers to do the same.

Chicago Green Office Challenge

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