Retrofit Chicago Celebrated for Helping Residents, Businesses and City Buildings save Money, Increase Energy Efficiency


February 2015




Mayor Emanuel Joins Labor Environmental and Business Leaders to Announce Framework to Bring Clean Jobs to Chicago


Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined state labor, environmental and business leaders to endorse a clean jobs framework that will generate more than $400 million a year in new investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Chicago, creating thousands of jobs annually. The Mayor joined the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition to announce the framework at Testa Produce, a wholesale distributor of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetable with a facility that is home to the first freestanding wind turbine in the City of Chicago and 180 solar panels.


"This diverse coalition is all the more proof that going green is not a zero sum game. Instead, it is a win-win for our environment and our economy," said Mayor Emanuel. "We are proving here in the City of Chicago that adopting a clean energy strategy is good for the environment, good for business, good for jobs, and good for our economic future."


The framework supported by Mayor Emanuel and the Coalition would call for new energy efficiency standards to reduce the use of electricity in Illinois by 20 percent by 2025, and increasing the share of the state's power that comes from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, to 35 percent by 2030. This proposal goes above and beyond President Obama's challenge to states to chart a clean energy future and adopt strict new standards for cutting their carbon emissions, making the State of Illinois a model for America when it comes to creating clean energy jobs and building a clean energy future for the next generation.


Read more here.

Retrofit Chicago Celebrated for Helping Residents, Businesses and City Buildings save Money, Increase Energy Efficiency

Retrofit Chicago has been awarded the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's (MEEA) 2015 Inspiring Efficiency Impact Award.


Retrofit Chicago was launched in 2012 as part of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda. Retrofit Chicago is a voluntary program that is helping to drive energy efficiency improvements, and associated cost savings, job creation and greenhouse gas reductions in Chicago's residential, commercial and municipal sectors.

"Retrofit Chicago strengthens Chicago by accelerating energy efficiency across the city," said Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer with the City of Chicago. "Retrofit Chicago works with multiple partners to make it easier for residents and businesses to access the resources they need to make their homes and businesses more efficient, saving dollars and reducing emissions."

Retrofit Chicago includes three related programs:

  • Residential

Since the start of the Residential Partnership in 2012, the program has achieved more than $7 million in savings and a 15 percent energy reduction in retrofitted homes. The city nearly doubled its original two-year goal of 7,750 retrofitted homes, and to-date has completed more than 16,000 in-depth retrofits, with more than 100,000 homes receiving free efficiency products.

  • Commercial

The Commercial Buildings Initiative (CBI) includes 50 buildings covering almost 39 million square feet that have each pledged to reduce energy use by 20 percent over five years. Current participants have collectively achieved a 7 percent reduction in energy use with an annual cost savings of $2.5 million, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 5,800 cars from the road.

  • Municipal

The municipal part of Retrofit Chicago - starting with the Retrofit 1 project - uses private investment to accelerate retrofit projects in 60 city buildings. Retrofit 1, the Chicago Infrastructure Trust and its partners estimate that upon completion of the retrofit projects the city will save approximately $1.4 million in energy costs and reduce energy use by 18 percent across all buildings.


Read more here.

Mayor Emanuel, Secretary Foxx Announce Your New Blue Line Modernization Project To Receive $120 Million In Federal Funding


The CTA's Blue Line will get $120 million in federal funds in an effort to shave 10 minutes from the trip from O'Hare Airport to the Loop.


"By modernizing the Blue Line, we are investing in Chicago's future, as it not only serves as a vital transportation link connecting O'Hare and downtown but it serves as a key economic engines for scores of Chicago neighborhoods," said Mayor Emanuel.  "This federal funding will help us ensure that we build the infrastructure Chicago needs to succeed economically in the 21st Century."


"Every Chicagoan knows how important it is to be able to take a convenient, reliable trip on the L to and from O'Hare," said Secretary Foxx. "By upgrading the Blue Line, this project will improve access to 21st century transportation for the entire region. Going forward, we want to bring these opportunities to other parts of the country, working with Congress to develop a long-term funding solution for transit, roads, bridges and other crucial infrastructure."

 The four-year, $492 million Your New Blue program, announced in late 2013, is an ambitious service improvement project on the Blue Line that will benefit more than 80,000 customers who use the O'Hare branch each weekday. In addition to station improvements, the project upgrades tracks and modernizes signal systems to speed train travel and make it more reliable.


The project will also create more than 1,300 good-paying jobs in construction, engineering, design and other construction-related fields.


Programs & Opportunites

Chicago Green Office Challenge Round 4 is OPEN!


Register now for the fourth round of the Chicago Green Office Challenge. The Challenge is an impact-driven program that encourages friendly competition among commercial offices and individuals to adopt sustainable practices at work and at home. By "playing" the Challenge, participants take concrete action to earn points for their companies and make Chicago more competitive, livable, and sustainable.


Register your office to play by visiting www.chicagogoc.com, and follow the Challenge online: Facebook.com/ChicagoGreenOfficeChallenge, @ChiGreenOffice). 


Learn more about the Challenge and network with other sustainability-minded individuals on Wednesday, September 10, at Coalition from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with refreshments provided by Goose Island Brewery. RSVP to support@chicagogoc.com.



Solid Waste Association of North America 2015 Scholarship


The SWANA Land of Lincoln Chapter is now accepting scholarship applications for

 their annual scholarship award. 


Eligible students must be enrolled in civil or environmental engineering, biology, geology, environmental studies, environmental science or a related program AND must have graduated from an Illinois high school or currently be a resident of the State of Illinois. 


Full details are available here.  Applications are due by March 31, 2015, and a recipient will be selected in May.



 City of Chicago Weather Resilience Workshops


The Northeastern Illinois Resilience Partnership is hosting a series of neighborhood workshops to address the region's resilience to incidents of extreme weather, especially rainstorms that cause floods and related damage. The purpose of the workshops is to identify techniques and infrastructure improvements that foster sustainability and reduce damage to private and public property. 



Meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

  • Monday, Feb. 9 Austin Town Hall Park 5610 W. Lake St. Chicago
  • Tuesday, Feb. 10 North Lawndale Homan Sq. Park 3517 W. Arthington Chicago
  • Wednesday, Feb. 11 Humboldt Park Humboldt Park 1400 N. Sacramento Chicago
  • Tuesday, Feb. 17 Little Village St. Agnes of Bohemia Bishop Manz Hall 2658 S. Central Park Chicago
  • Wednesday, Feb. 18 Garfield Park Conservatory Community Room 300 N. Central Park Chicago



Home Energy Efficiency and Weatherization


February 8th


Rebuilding Exchange

1740 W Webster Ave., Chicago, IL


Join green building and home weatherization experts from Elevate Energy and the Citizen's Utility Board at the Rebuilding Exchange to learn about practical, cost effective strategies for enhancing the comfort and energy efficiency of your home and weatherization techniques to save on your bills. They will also discuss important seasonal maintenance that can improve the health and safety of your family during the heating season. This workshop includes demos and tips on how to save money and energy as well as information about energy usage and energy efficiency.

Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition
Retrofit Chicago MEEA award
$120M for Your New Blue
Chicago Green Office Challenge
Student Scholarship
Resilience Workshops



Take action in your community by volunteering. Learn more at www.chicagocares.org or www.chicagoconservationcorps.org