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Energy Benchmarking Ordinance Changes 2019


The City of Chicago recently released the coming changes to the city’s energy ordinance. The new system will increase transparency of energy use to building stakeholders. In 2019 buildings will be given a star rating from 0 – 4 as follows:


  • Zero stars: Out of compliance with energy benchmarking (no report sent to the City)
  • One star: 1-40 points
  • Two stars: 41-60 points OR a score of 11-40 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years
  • Three stars: 61-80 points OR a score of 41-60 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years
  • Four stars: 81-100 points OR a score of 61-80 points and a 10-point improvement in the past 2 years


These new ratings are designated by the city based on the EPA’s 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR ratings—the same nationally recognized standard used in Chicago since the introduction of the ordinance in 2014. These ratings have been around since 1992, but the city’s requirements to now display these scores publicly is a method of increasing visibility of energy use and further promote improvements.


What You Need to Know

  • These changes do not require any extra information or cost to the building owner; the energy benchmarking currently done is still sufficient to provide your building’s star rating.
  • Buildings owners/managers are required to post the rating on their building and to provide the rating to prospective buyers and lessees.
  • The ordinance does not require any improvements to be made, however those electing to make changes increase their publicly available star rating and lower energy costs.
  • Peoples Gas and ComEd have partnered to offer discounted services and products to owners of buildings with three or more units.
    • The total funds for these rebates has increased substantially as of Jan 1, 2018; energy upgrades have never been more accessible.
  • The 10-point increase required to improve your property’s star rating results in ~8% reduction in energy use which can save you thousands on your energy bill every year.
  • You can find more information on the updated ordinance on the City of Chicago’s website.


Waldman Engineering Consultants strongly urges building owners and managers to benchmark their property and conduct an energy evaluation to identify where energy upgrades are needed. Energy improvements are one of the easiest ways to improve public opinion of your building and lower operating costs.



Waldman Engineering Consultants