On January 29, 2014, the mayors from 10 major U.S. cities announced that they will participate in the new City Energy Project (CEP), a program from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation designed to boost energy efficiency in buildings across the country. Chicago will join Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake City in this green initiative.
The NRDC has found that buildings, especially in cities like Chicago, are the largest single source of U.S. carbon emissions, surpassing both transportation and industrial sectors. Just think about it- large buildings often are kept running 24/7. This means lights, computers and other equipment are kept on continuously, generating about a 30% waste in total energy consumed.
However, there is available technology and best practices to make our buildings more efficient, and the CEP hopes a coordinated effort by these ten cities will be a start to a cleaner, healthier nation. Some energy waste can be solved with simple measures such as installing sensors to automatically turn off lights when a room is not in use, and turning heating and cooling down on weekends.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel states, “the City Energy Project is a promising opportunity and partnership for the City of Chicago as we work to become a more energy efficient city. More energy efficiency means new jobs and continued economic growth, and a more sustainable city, which will lead to a further increase in the quality of life for the people of Chicago.” So far, 32 major commercial buildings in Chicago have pledged to reduce their energy use by 20%.
Benefits of the CEP for Chicago include:
- Reduced demand for power plants
- More resilient to energy-related crises
- Reduced hazardous air pollution
- Increase in jobs in a variety of fields and skill levels
- Lower energy bills and total cost of living
- Decrease in extreme weather events
To learn more about the City Energy Project and how it works, read the full NRDC article HERE