Nov. 8 is the date of the third and final information session for the City’s proposed ordinance that would require owners of large buildings to monitor and report their water and energy usage. Owners, managers, and representatives of large buildings in Evanston (20,000 square feet and above) who did not attend any of the other sessions are invited to this final session, scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Room 2402 of the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. These information sessions were designed for affected property owners/representatives to learn if and how their building(s) will be impacted by the ordinance.

The ordinance is scheduled for a final vote by the Evanston City Council on Nov. 28.

The draft ordinance, which can be found at cityofevanston.org/benchmarking, was developed with leadership from the Evanston Utilities Commission and input from dozens of community stakeholders over the course of six public meetings and through consultation with other communities with similar ordinances. The City has also developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that can be found on the above-mentioned benchmarking web page.

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 proposed energy and water benchmarking ordinance will require property owners of affected buildings to aggregate and report their building’s energy and water usage annually through a free online software program, Portfolio Manager, administered by the EPA. 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.

Property owners and representatives are invited to submit the Benchmarking Public Forum, a link to which is available at cityofevanston.org/benchmarking. Comments from the submitted forms will be reviewed after the public comment period ends on Nov. 11.