On June 20, 2023, the Village Board of Oak Park, Illinois voted in favor of an all-electric new construction ordinance as part of their building code. This makes Oak Park the first municipality in Illinois - and the Midwest - to pass an electrification ordinance. Electrification was one of the steps identified as necessary to achieve community-wide net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as set forth by the Village in Climate Ready Oak Park. This follows the adoption of a benchmarking ordinance approved in February 2023.
On September 21, 2022, the Chicago City Council passed Mayor Lightfoot's 2022 Chicago Energy Transformation Code, making Chicago the first city in the Midwest to adopt and exceed the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This and other decarbonization measures will help the city meet its recently released Climate Action Plan.
It is imperative that opportunities to tackle climate change and create well-paying jobs in the United States exist concurrently. As the country’s economy changes and the prevalence of carbon-free energy sources grows, it has become increasingly important to understand how employment in the energy sector is also growing and changing. The U.S.
Over the past 15 years, utility-run energy efficiency programming has produced significant energy savings, customer cost savings and a host of system-wide and societal benefits throughout the Midwest. Unfortunately, these benefits are not fully understood or recognized by many state legislators and other policymakers. As a result, MEEA and other energy efficiency industry experts must recurringly defend EE policies from those who misunderstand how efficiency is funded, its value and impact for utility customers and its widespread benefits within individual states and throughout the region.
After nearly three years of policy development and a year of debate and negotiation, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB 2408) and Governor Pritzker signed it into law on September 15. This nearly 1,000-page bill sets Illinois on a pathway toward power sector decarbonization by 2045, creates equitable clean energy workforce development pathways and expands state commitments to energy efficiency, renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Public policy leaders around the country are striving to find cost-effective and feasible ways to rapidly mitigate and adapt to climate change. Recently, MEEA conducted a review of climate action plans throughout the Midwest to better understand how leaders are approaching climate action, and the degree to which energy efficiency is incorporated. After an analysis of 15 midwestern cities ranging in size from Bloomfield, Iowa with 2,694 people to Chicago with almost 3 million, we identified cities that are employing particularly unique, innovative and thoughtful initiatives into their climate action plans.
Each spring, the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program honors businesses and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy achievements. ENERGY STAR Award winners are leaders in their industries for their efforts to reduce emissions and create a healthier environment.
With many contractors suffering from a lack of enthusiastic and skilled workers, introducing young people into the energy efficiency industry is crucial. This industry is known for skewing primarily older (and nearing retirement), male, and lacking diversity. Partnering with community organizations that offer training opportunities to under-privileged youth is a great way to bring fresh, new faces into the industry and to encourage a more diverse workforce.
Recreational cannabis hits the shelves January 1, 2020 in both Illinois and Michigan. How will the race to market impact energy use?
Growing cannabis is an energy-intensive process, and as cultivators focus on getting product ready as quickly as possible, it will be easy for energy efficiency to get pushed to the backburner and energy consumption to rise.