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Energy benchmarking plan to burden more here

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Evanston officials, hoping to join Chicago in requiring owners of large buildings to report their energy usage, plan to make owners of proportionately several times as many buildings file such reports.

Chicago has chosen to limit the benchmarking requirement to buildings greater than 50,000 square feet in size. Officials there say that represents less than one percent of the total number of buildings in the city but will track 20 percent of total energy usage.

Evanston's plan would sweep buildngs as small as 20,000 square feet into the reporting regime.

Kumar Jensen, Evanston's environmental project coordinator, says he doesn't have figures on the total number of buildings in Evanston. That makes it impossible to directly calculate the percentage of buildings that will be required to report here.

Kumar Jensen.

But Chicago, with a population 36 times larger than Evanston, will only require five times as many buildings to report their energy consumption data.

Jensen says the city chose 20,000 square feet as the reporting threshold to match the scope of the city's Green Building ordinance, which requires energy efficiency standards for new construction and major remodeling projects.

The proposed benchmarking ordinance is scheduled for review by the City Council on Monday, Nov. 28.

Jensen says that so far in a series meetings with building owners who would be covered by the plan, most concerns have come from representatives of smaller, self-managed condo buildings who feared it would be burdensome to comply and could be a breach of their residents' privacy.

He says the meetings drew virtually no feedback from owners of commercial or rental apartment buildings.


Update 4:30 p.m. 11/21/16: City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz this afternoon announced that at the request of Mayor Tisdahl the energy benchmarking ordinance agenda item has been postponed from the Monday, Nov. 28, City Council meeting to the Monday, Dec. 12, meeting.

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