Oak Park, IL Initiates Benchmarking to Be Climate Ready

Oak Park, IL

On February 6, 2023, the Village Board of Oak Park (Village) unanimously passed an energy and water benchmarking ordinance for commercial and multifamily buildings. This benchmarking ordinance is 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.

Oak Park GHG Emissions Forecast and Targets
Image source: Village of Oak Park. (2022). Existing Conditions & Vulnerability Assessment.

Oak Park Climate Action Plan

Climate Ready Oak Park was finalized in August 2022 and outlines six commitments for the Village to mitigate and sustain the effects of climate change. Oak Park’s building sector is responsible for over 70% of greenhouse gas emissions within the Village. The Implementation Plan provides solutions to increase the energy efficiency in buildings, including but not limited to establishing the following items: energy efficiency reach codes for new buildings and major renovations, climate resilience codes and policies, energy goals for existing buildings, programs to support building decarbonization.

Climate Ready Oak Park Commitments

  1. Decrease community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2030.
  2. Achieve community-wide net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  3. Meet the energy needs of Village facilities with 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
  4. Establish 30% of Oak Park’s land as green infrastructure or enhanced park management.
  5. Direct 40% of public climate and sustainability dollars to the most vulnerable residents.
  6. Partner with the most impacted customers to create climate and sustainability policies and programs.
2019 Oak Park GHG Emissions by Category Pie Chart
Image source: Village of Oak Park. (2022). Existing Conditions & Vulnerability Assessment.

Energy and Water Benchmarking Ordinance

The Oak Park Energy and Water Benchmarking Ordinance requires public buildings and privately-owned commercial and multifamily buildings to report their annual energy and water consumption in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The ordinance applies to privately-owned buildings 10,000 square feet and larger and village-owned buildings 10,000 square feet and larger. Buildings will be phased in, with the first phase of buildings (Village-owned) beginning to report on June 1, 2023. Privately-owned buildings will have a reporting deadline of December 31, 2023. Data will be reported annually and will be publicly available one year after the deadlines.

This climate action plan and benchmarking ordinance follow previous commitments by the Village to address climate change, including adopting a resolution in support of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2017. Since 2019, 273 Oak Park homes have had energy assessments, saving over 323,000 kWh. In 2022, Oak Park invested over $600,000 in energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades through the Oak Park Energy Grant Program, enough to power over 40 homes for one year.

For more information, visit the Village of Oak Park Building Benchmarking webpage.

MEEA and Slipstream have been providing technical assistance to the Village of Oak Park for their benchmarking ordinance and other building policies. If your community is interested in technical assistance, please contact Alison Lindburg.