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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Get your priorities straight

    Four people shot last week and our city council is concerned about energy usage.  I'm sure it's not easy to run a city but, it becomes much harder when you spin your wheels looking for pet problems rather than addressing actual problems.

    1. Avoid Chicago-Main intersection

      It's all about controlling law abiding citizens. We have massive gang issues run amok yet I receive ComRed letters every month indicating that my usage is way too high. Yet, I cannot open my window due to the massive loud construction across the street in addition to intersection traffic, eL, buses, trucks, and Metra…avoid Chicago-Main intersection if you want to enjoy fresh air, quiet, or peace.

  2. Citizens’ Greener Evanston Supports Benchmarking
    With energy use from existing buildings constituting the single largest portion of our community’s green house as emissions, Citizens’ Greener Evanston strongly supports adoption of this energy use benchmarking ordinance as a low cost and effective way of encouraging energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint.

    Evanston isn’t the first to do this. Many other communities around the country have already implements similar ordinances, including Chicago (2103), Austin TX( 2009), Cambridge MA (2014) and Minneapolis (2013).

    Several of the largest energy users in town, including the City itself, are already gathering the required data and have expressed their approval of the benchmarking concept. For any parties who have not already been part of the process I’d invite you to one the upcoming public comment sessions in Room 2404 of the Civic Center:

    Tuesday, June 28, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Wednesday, July 6, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    Thursday, July 7, noon to 3 p.m., noon to 3 p.m.

    Jonathan Nieuwsma
    President, Citizens’ Greener Evanston

    1. What a waste of time and

      What a waste of time and money. With so many other problems and property taxes too high, it's puzzling how this can be a priority. 

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