Driving Energy Efficiency in Chicago Buildings

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.

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.

  • 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.

  • Urban Innovations

    Urban Innovations is a fully integrated real estate investment firm, which controls 11 commercial properties in Chicago's River North neighborhood with more than 180 tenants. EDF Climate Corps fellow Michael Perry developed an Excel-based tool that identified applicable rebate information and calculated cost-savings from upgrading to more energy efficient systems and equipment. Through the use of this tool, Urban Innovations identified annual reductions of over 990,000 kilowatt hours in electricity usage, over $70,000 in annual cost-savings, over $72,000 in immediate rebates, and over 846 metric tons in greenhouse gas reductions

  • 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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  • 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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