City of Chicago Utility Cost Disclosure Ordinance

The City of Chicago adopted energy efficiency policies for both commercial and residential buildings to help reduce waste energy from residential and commercial buildings, which accounts for about one-third of the urban heat island effect, in some US cities. This ordinance in combination with the city's energy conservation code and energy benchmarking ordinance seek to enhance energy efficiency in the city's building stock and reduce waste heat from buildings.

In 2013, the City passed this Utility Cost Disclosures Ordinance, becoming the first municipality in the country to require disclosure of residential energy costs when a home is listed for sale through a multiple listing service (MLS). Now, Chicago’s MLS includes fields for energy efficiency features of houses for sale. The measure was adopted as the result of a public-private partnership between Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the Office of the Mayor, and Elevate Energy. When a home is listed for sale in Chicago, realtors can access an energy cost disclosure report for a property in near real-time, which they in turn are required to provide to home purchasers pursuant to the ordinance.

A preliminary analysis has shown that homes that disclose energy costs spent less time on the market than homes that did not disclose.1. These measures were implemented because estimates show that in many cities one third of the urban heat island effect comes from waste energy from buildings.2  

An energy reporting and disclosure program is a way to achieve improved energy efficiency and, ultimately, mitigate the urban heat island effects in cities. 

Publication Date: March 13, 2013

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