Office N Illinois

Chicago to power buildings using only renewable energy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel along with other city leadership announced a plan to fully commit to renewable energy by requiring city buildings to only use renewable energy by 2025.

The proposal includes buildings managed by agencies such as Chicago Public Schools, the Park District, Chicago Housing Authority and more. Accomplishing this goal will make Chicago the largest major city in the country to exclusively power public buildings with renewable energy.

“As the Trump administration pulls back on building a clean energy economy, Chicago is doubling down,” Mayor Emanuel said in a statement.

The city, Chicago Public Schools, the Park District, Chicago Housing Authority and City Colleges of Chicago used 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016. That is equivalent to powering 295,000 homes in Chicago and the same amount of energy created by 300 wind turbines in a year.

The city will meet this goal by acquiring renewable energy credits, utility-supplied renewable energy via Illinois' Renewable Portfolio Standard and on-site generation.

Shedd Aquarium has already started the process of reducing its energy by 50 percent by 2020 with over 900 solar panels installed on its roof. The aquarium has also switched over to LED lights and installed a 60,000-pound, one-megawatt battery.

Previously, the city eliminated coal from the electricity it buys on an annual basis and a dozen CPS schools have had solar arrays installed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded Chicago with the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award, given to organizations that have made significant contributions to protecting the environment.