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Benchmarking and BOC: Energy Plans in Chicago

Benchmarking and Boc: Energy Plans in Chicago

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.

In 2014, more than 340 buildings spanning 260 million square feet benchmarked, verified, and reported under the Ordinance. 

Benchmarking Data Verification

To ensure that data is being tracked and reported correctly, covered buildings must complete data verification and have their energy and building data reviewed and verified by a licensed professional, starting with the first year a building reports, and every third year thereafter. The City of Chicago recognizes MEEA’s Building Operator Certification as one of six credentials whose holders can conduct data verification under the Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance.


First-time benchmarking, verification, and reporting deadlines will phase-in over three years, based on building size and sector, according to the following timeline:

  • June 1, 2014:  Municipal and commercial buildings ≥250,000 square feet
  • June 1, 2015:  Municipal and commercial buildings 50,000 – 250,000 square feet, and Residential buildings ≥250,000 square feet
  • June 1, 2016:  Residential buildings 50,000 – 250,000 square feet

MEEA will be collecting contact information for BOC graduates interested in providing these services in the City of Chicago. For more information on the Chicago Benchmarking Ordinance and how Building Operator Certification graduates can be more involved, contact Molly Graham, Program Associate at (312) 784-7277 or

Click HEre for a Downloadable PDf about Benchmarking in CHicago