Merchandise Mart

At a Glance


Real Estate

Project Types

Clean and Renewable Energy, Data Analysis




Chicago, IL


Abdul Wadood tracked down the source of after-hours energy use and created tools for Merchandise Mart to engage with its tenants and realize energy savings.


Abdul Wadood, a 2014 EDF Climate Corps fellow at the Merchandise Mart, was tasked primarily to identify reasons for after-hours energy use in the building and mitigate it through tenant engagement measures. The Mart is a very large building, spanning 4.2 million square feet with over 350 tenants, all individually billed through conventional meters.


After-hours energy use varied from tenant to tenant, so tenants’ meters were manually read to calculate individual energy use and power footprints. Lease data sets and information on tenants’ space lights and plug loads, along with space retrofit possibilities were used to normalize, compare and prioritize high potential tenants. This data was then used to estimate the amount of after-hours kilowatt hours that could be saved at the Mart. Excluding building base load, 120 tenants were estimated to capture 90 percent the building’s after-hours use potential. This was attributable to lights and plug loads at the building. The team established that the majority of the load reduction would be from behavioral changes, so customized tenant engagement reports were made. These included energy and power use densities, peers energy performance, the building’s own success stories and easy energy conservation tips. Tenants were also requested to answer questions and pledge energy savings based on their past performance. Tenants with complex loads, such as refrigeration at retail food stores, data centers or supplemental cooling units at offices, required a case-by-case assessment. An inventory of all supplemental loads, including lights with usage behavior was created via door to door surveys.

Potential Impact

Based on this information and through successful tenant engagement, the Mart could reduce 470 metric tons of carbon emissions and save 520,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually - which is over $60,000 in savings for tenants.

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