Chicago is the latest city to adopt a stricter building energy code that’ll make a strong push for electrification. The Chicago City Council recently passed the 2022 Chicago Energy Transformation Code, requiring new buildings to meet several energy-efficiency and electrification standards. Most of the energy code changes will apply to new building permit applications starting this November.
Some portions of Chicago’s new energy code are based on the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, which many cities and states use as a model. The IECC is revised every 3 years, and most city governments adopt some portions of the code and alter others to suit local needs. Kansas City, Missouri, was the first municipality in the U.S. to adopt the 2021 version of the code in November 2020, and other cities that have adopted the code include Austin, Texas, and the small, progressive town of Louisville, Colorado. Chicago’s version will reportedly exceed many of the code’s standards, making it particularly tough for building owners to meet.
Chicago’s new energy code includes a wide array of new requirements, including designing certain commercial building roofs to support solar panels and incentives for smart HVAC systems that integrate with the electric grid to decrease demand during peak uses. More stringent energy codes have become a primary way states and local governments have tackled real estate decarbonization, and property owners should expect the push to continue. New York City’s Local Law 97 gets a lot of attention in talk of energy reduction for buildings, but other cities are following suit in passing regulations that will effect much more of the property industry.