Driving Chicago's Building Energy Initiative

Environmental Defense Fund is working in Chicago to accelerate energy performance in buildings.

Our EDF Climate Corps team is working in some of the most iconic buildings in Chicago to prove that when a concentrated coalition of buildings implements best energy management protocols, large scale business and environmental ROI follows

In 2013 EDF launched the Chicago Building Energy Initiative, working with Mayor Emanuel’s office, Energy Center of Wisconsin, NRDC, and C40. Our strategy is to cut energy use in a critical mass of downtown buildings, creating a tipping point that drives large-scale reductions in energy costs and emissions in the Midwest. We're aiming to identify 30 million kWh of energy savings in Chicago, and make energy management the norm for building managers in the region.

Our work in Chicago is reducing energy use, creating tenant engagement programs, and rewarding companies for the full value of clean energy through solid economic analysis and timely access to energy usage data, allowing them to choose when they use electricity based on demand response and time-variant pricing.

  • Merchandise Mart

    Chicago's iconic Merchandise Mart is one of the largest commercial buildings in the world with 4 million square feet of floor space. Abdul Wadood, a graduate student with Duke University, is working with Merchandise Mart to reduce energy use by identifying the factors behind a large amount of after-hours energy consumption in the building. His assessment showed how to mitigate consumption through efficiency and reduction measures designed to appeal to the building's 350 tenants.

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  • Jones Lang LaSalle

    77 West Wacker Drive, the old headquarters for United Airlines, was one of the first buildings to join EDF's Chicago Building Energy Initiative. EDF Climate Corps fellow Karan Gupta is working with real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle to take a deep dive into energy efficiency at this 50-story office building. Together, they have identified an energy reduction goal of 5M kWh by 2018; 2M kWh of which has been uncovered during the 2014 fellowship. In addition, they are leading the way in demand response and piloting a tenant engagement project to change energy usage in the building.

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  • Glenstar Asset Management

    Olin Berger of Columbia University is working with Glenstar Asset Management to assess traditional energy efficiency management in a premier Class A office building. In addition to evaluating lighting, HVAC and escalator improvements, Olin is also assessing the opportunities for the building to participate in demand response programs and is implementing communications strategies to change behavior.

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See the EDF Climate Corps impact in Chicago

Learn more about demand response