Chicago City Council approves new energy code

Chicago City Council approves new energy code


CHICAGO–On June 6, the City Council approved legislation introduced by Mayor Richard M. Daley that would give Chicago its first-ever Energy Code.

“Providing energy conservation alternatives for the consumer and establishing regulations that protect our air quality are priorities for this administration,” said Mayor Daley. “The new Energy Code leads the city in the right direction towards creating a long-lasting conservation program, encouraging sustainable design, which will increase utility cost savings resulting in home ownership affordability.”

Basic code requirements to improve energy efficiency would include insulating floors, roofs and walls as well as installing energy-efficient windows and heating/cooling equipment. Insulation standards would also attempt to reduce ice accumulation on roofs and gutters.

The ordinance, which establishes minimum regulations for the flexible design of energy-efficient buildings, will apply to newly-constructed buildings. It will apply to existing buildings only when there are additions, changes in occupancy, conversion of previously unconditioned space or when there is a replacement of major or entire building systems, such as a new furnace or a new lighting system in a commercial building.

In addition, the ordinance attempts to reduce the urban heat island effect by implementing standards requiring light-colored roofs to limit the amount of solar energy absorbed by building roofs and transmitted to the environment. The new code also aims to reduce pollution from power plants and greenhouse emissions.

Building Commissioner Mary R. Richardson Lowry stated, “Together with the city’s plans to reduce its own energy use and to buy more renewable energy, this initiative goes a long way toward building a secure energy future in the Chicago region, and one that improves the environment while being good for the economy.

“The Chicago Energy Conservation Code generally follows the requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code, which has been adopted by 36 states–although not in Illinois–and is tailored to Chicago’s climate. I applaud the members of the Energy Code Committee for working tirelessly for two and a half years to examine various model codes and develop minimum energy-efficient standards for Chicago,” the commissioner added.

The code will take effect in January 2002, following an extensive information campaign conducted by the Department of Building and green building advocates.

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