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The City of Evanston Utilities Commission, upon direction from the Evanston City Council, has launched a public comment period to receive input on a draft energy and water benchmarking ordinance.

The draft ordinance, which can be found at cityofevanston.org/benchmarking, was developed with input from dozens of community stakeholders over the course of six public meetings and through the consultation of other communities with similar ordinances. The draft ordinance is not finalized and is posted to provide community members and stakeholders with the opportunity to review and comment on the ordinance before it is introduced to City Council.

Energy and water benchmarking is the process of tracking the energy and water consumed, over time, of an existing building, such as a school, hospital, or office building, and comparing the results to similar buildings or an applicable standard. Other U.S. cities, including Chicago, have implemented benchmarking policies and ordinances.

The period of public comment will be open from Tuesday, June 21 through Friday, July 15. There are two primary ways for community stakeholders to provide feedback on the ordinance:

Submit the Benchmarking Public Comment Form. Comments from the submitted forms will be reviewed once the public comment period has ended on July 15. The comment form is available at cityofevanston.org/benchmarking.

Attend a Public Comment Open Session. City staff will host three drop-in sessions open to the public. Interested stakeholders and community members can attend to learn more about the ordinance and comment on the draft. All Public Comment Open Sessions will be held on the second floor (Room 2404) of the Morton Civic Center, located at 2100 Ridge Ave. Sessions will be held:

  • 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.

Free public parking is available in the rear of the building. The Morton Civic Center is located a roughly seven-minute walk west from both the Noyes and Foster CTA Purple Line stations.

Energy and water benchmarking ordinances generally require property owners of affected buildings to aggregate and report their building’s energy and water usage, but do not require them to make any changes to the building’s energy or water performance. Once energy and water usage has been accurately reported, the City would compile a report from each building and post a list of the benchmarked buildings and their performances. Energy and water benchmarking is one way for the City to continue to gauge Evanston’s progress towards its stated greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals as outlined in the City’s Livability Plan. Just as the Evanston green building ordinance helps the City evaluate energy usage of new buildings, energy and water benchmarking will help the City evaluate energy and water usage of existing mid-sized and large buildings.

The Utilities Commission is a formal City commission comprised of Evanston community members with experience and knowledge of the utility, engineering and finance industries. The Utilities Commission is co-chairing this initiative in collaboration with the Environment Board and Citizens’ Greener Evanston.

For more information, please contact City of Evanston Environmental Project Coordinator Kumar Jensen at 847-448-8199 or kjensen@cityofevanston.org.