Tracking and reporting on energy usage has been a requirement for condo associations in the greater Chicago area for several years, and it’s important for your association to know how to remain in compliance. Not only is benchmarking energy use good for your association as it can lead to improved efficiencies and cost savings, but the inverse – failing to report data – can result in stiff fines for violation.
Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance: What Condo Associations Need to Know
The city’s energy benchmarking requirements were established in 2013 as part of the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. This ordinance requires all commercial and residential buildings over 50,000 square feet, including condominium buildings, to annually benchmark their energy usage and report it to the city.
The mandatory requirements were established as a way to improve energy efficiency in the city and raise awareness through information and transparency. Buildings over 50,000 square feet are not required to make any energy investments, but they are required to do these three things:
- Benchmark energy use annually: Condo associations must track basic building information and whole-building energy use (electricity, natural gas, and any other fuels, including common spaces and tenant-occupied spaces). This data must be submitted using the city’s benchmarking tool – ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The tool also allows you to look at your condo association’s energy performance and compare it to similar buildings.
- Verify energy data every 3 years: In the first year of benchmarking and every third year thereafter, associations must have an in-house or 3rd-party professional verify that they are tracking and reporting information correctly.
- Report to the city annually: The deadline for submitting basic energy benchmarking data to the city is June 1st of each year. After a year of submitting your first benchmarking data, the city can make some of this information available on its public website.
It’s important for condo associations to take energy benchmarking seriously, as failure to comply with the ordinance can result in fines and penalties. Violations include fines of up to $100 for the first violation and an additional fine of up to $25 for each day the violation continues.
If you need help with energy benchmarking requirements for your condo association, a professional association management company can step in to help save your association money as well as meet the required obligations. Contact us at First Community Management today to learn more about how we help condo associations throughout the greater Chicago area with all their association management needs.