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Known as “the Windy City,” the “City of Big Shoulders,” and “the City That Works,” Chicago is a leader in reforming public schools, enhancing public safety and security initiatives, providing affordable housing in attractive and economically sound communities, ensuring accessibility for all and fostering, social, economic and environmental sustainability.
“Increasing sustainability throughout Chicago can create dramatic economic opportunity throughout our neighborhoods and improve the overall quality of life for residents,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We have done this in many ways, from recycling to LEED buildings, from protected bike lanes to energy efficiency".
Chicago’s Climate Action Plan calls for 25% reduction in Citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (relative to 1990) and an 80% reduction by 2050.
In April 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center recognized Chicago with the Siemens Sustainable Community Award, heralding the City’s multi-stakeholder approach to improving resource efficiency, environmental stewardship, and quality of life for residents, visitors, and generations to come.
With 23,000 commercial and industrial buildings and more than one million residential units, energy efficiency is at the core of Chicago’s environmental and economic strategy. Chicago’s Better Buildings Challenge commitment encompasses concrete, sector-specific efforts to increase energy efficiency including:
- Municipal Buildings: Retrofit Chicago, launched in March 2012, represents a $200 million public-private investment to improve energy efficiency in City assets through the Chicago Investment Trust.
- Commercial Buildings: Launched in June 2012, Chicago’s Commercial Building Initiative challenges large, private building owners to reduce energy use by 20% over 5 years, with work beginning within 6 months.
- Residential Buildings: Energy efficiency zones are fostering smarter energy use in Chicago’s multi- and single family homes. Residential efforts include weatherization, appliance upgrades, and energy-saving behavior.