After the monthly board meeting of the Public Buildings Commission of Chicago, the city’s mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the launch of theGuaranteed Energy Performance Contracting program, a new energyefficiency initiative.
The program plans to retrofit as many as 100 of the city’s publicbuildings through upgrades in lighting, mechanical retrofits, andinserting better water conservation technology.
Cumulatively, the imitative will retrofit 6.5 million square feet ofoffice space; as a result, the program is expected to create almost 375direct jobs and 1,100 manufacturing and related jobs. Once complete,the energy retrofits will save tax payers an estimated $4 million to$5.7 million annually.
The city is planning to raise $40 million in private financing tofund the initiative. Erin Lavin Cabonargi, the Public BuildingsCommission’s Executive Director says the program builds off the successof the energy retrofit at the Richard J. Daley Center. Energy conserving measures at theis public building will save Chicagoans $600,000 annually.
Energy retrofits are seen as one of the easiest and mostcost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions. Owners of privatecommercial buildings are increasingly becoming interested in retrofitsas they not only see significant energy savings, but they also see their vacancy rates drop as a result.
In 2009, the owners of Chicago’s largest building, the Sears Tower, announced a plan to institute a $350 million energy retrofit on the building — the most expensive energy efficiency retrofit ever. The owners say the renovations will reduce their electricityconsumption by 80% and their water consumption by 40%.