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City to make big building owners report energy use

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Evanston's Utilities Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed benchmarking ordinance that would force owners of large buildings in town to report their energy usage to the city.

The City Council this week directed the commission to move forward with the comment period, which runs through July 15.

Kumar Jensen, the city's environmental project coordinator, said the city's benchmarking working group has held nine public meetings and met with downtown Evanston property owners to discuss the proposed ordinance over the past year.

The ordinance is designed to help measure the success of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the city has already started the process of benchmarking energy usage at its own buildings.

Jonathan Nieuwsma

The benchmarking plan drew support at Monday's City Council meeting from Jonathan Nieuwsma of Citizens Greener Evanston as well as the chairs of the city's Environmental Board and the Utility Commission.

Under the proposed ordinance owners of buildings larger than 100,000 square feet would have to start reporting prior-year energy consumption next year. Owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet would have to comply in 2018 and those with buildings larger than 20,000 square feet would be covered in 2019.

More information about the proposed ordinance is available online.

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