Retrofit One Program Agreement Approved by Public Building Commission Board

Public Buildings Will See Improved Energy Efficiency, Reduced Energy Costs

Molly Sullivan, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

The Board of Commissioners of the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) today approved an agreement with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) that authorizes the PBC to oversee the Retrofit One program, which is designed to improve the energy efficiency of 60 public buildings in Chicago and reduce energy costs.

Under the agreement, the PBC will serve as the program manager of Retrofit One, a $13 million initiative covering 4.9 million square feet in city-owned buildings, including:

  • 22 libraries
  • 15 police stations and buildings used primarily by police
  • 11 facilities that provide health care, community centers and facilities for the disabled and aging including public health centers in Westtown, Englewood, Uptown, Roseland
  • Many unique city properties including City Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, 311 Center, Office of Emergency Management and Communications/911 Center, and the police and fire training academies.

Under Retrofit One, the first initiative of the Retrofit Chicago program, three energy service companies known as ESCOs will perform the work, the majority of which will focus on lighting retrofits, HVAC improvements, building envelope weatherization, and in many cases, building automation systems. The work will not only make the buildings more energy-efficient but also more comfortable due to enhanced control capabilities. The expected energy savings is equivalent to taking 2, 900 cars off the road annually.  It is estimated that once the work is completed, the City’s energy bill will be reduced by approximately $1.4 million per year and those savings will be used to pay back the project costs.

An estimated 108 jobs are expected to be created through Retrofit One and the contracts with the energy service companies performing the work require each ESCO to commit to utilize MBEs for not less than 25% of the value of the work and WBEs for not less than 5%. In addition Chicago residents will perform at least 50% of the total labor hours under the contract. Work is expected to get underway in April 2014 and be completed by April 2015.

Retrofit Chicago is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision to make Chicago the most attractive and sustainable city of the 21st century. Chicago is already a nationally recognized leader in energy efficiency, with a proven track record of successful projects at the Park District, Chicago Housing Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools Headquarters, and the Richard J. Daley Center. Chicago also ranks number one in the country in the number of public buildings certified under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating systems.Retrofit One will build on the city’s leadership in building efficiency, energy and sustainability.

In related work, the PBC board previously approved the PBC’s management of a comprehensive energy efficiency program for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. The PBC has completed the feasibility phase of this project, the goal of which is to improve the energy efficiency of buildings at six waste water treatment sites in Cook County. The next phase, investment grade energy audits of all suitable buildings, is expected to get underway soon.

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