Chicago is looking to join Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and a growing number of U.S. cities now requiring energy use benchmarking and tracking. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced an ordinance that would require approximately 3,500 commercial, residential, and municipal buildings over 50,000 square feet to track and verify their energy consumption. These buildings also would be required to authorize the city of Chicago to disclose their energy efficiency publicly starting in June 2015. If the ordinance is passed, Chicago would be the ninth city to require energy benchmarking of this scale.

Under the ordinance, energy use should be traced via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Portfolio Manager tool and this data would be reported to the city through an automated process. Building owners would be required to have their data verified every three years by a licensed architect, engineer, or other professional recognized by the city, and the city would publish an annual report on energy efficiency.

The ordinance is structured so that commercial and municipal buildings would report data in two batches. The first batch would consists of buildings over 250,000 square feet and its first report would be due in June 2014. The second bath would apply to buildings between 50,000 and 250,000 square feet, and its first report would be due in June 2015. Residential buildings in each group would have an additional year to comply with the ordinance, and public disclosure of energy data for all groups would not occur until one year after the respective compliance dates. The ordinance excludes industrial facilities, storage units, and hazardous use units, and contains exemptions for new construction and buildings facing financial distress, as well as for buildings with more than 10 percent of floor space dedicated to data centers, TV studios ,or trading floors.

Click here for more information from Mayor Emanuel's office.