Higher Education Institutions Commit to Reduce Energy Use

July 18, 2014—(Chicago, IL)—The City of Chicago announced today that 10 local colleges and
universities have joined Retrofit Chicago’s Commercial Buildings Initiative (CBI), committing to
reduce energy consumption by 20% in at least one campus building over the next five
years. The commitments grew out of a new collaborative developed by local universities to
work together to identify best practices for reducing energy consumption. The collaborative,
known as the Alliance to Retrofit Chicago Higher Education (ARCH), launched in late 2012 with
funding from the Joyce Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and Comer Foundation.
By joining CBI, these schools have pledged to retrofit over 3.7 million square feet. When this
work is done, collectively, the buildings will save over $1.2 million a year, have created up to 30
jobs and have a carbon impact equivalent to taking more 1,900 cars off the road. They join
iconic Chicago landmarks, like the Merchandise Mart, Rookery Building, Wrigley Building,
Intercontinental Chicago Magnificent Mile and Shedd Aquarium.
“The Alliance to Retrofit Chicago Higher Education has been a key partner in bringing targeted
energy efficiency support and solutions to Chicago-area colleges and universities” said Karen
Weigert, the City of Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Mayor Emanuel and the entire city
welcome these 10 ARCH members’ commitment to a challenge that is strengthening Chicago
across 48 participants and 37 million square feet.”
The ten institutions joining CBI include: City Colleges of Chicago; Columbia College Chicago;
DePaul University; Illinois Institute of Technology; Loyola University; Northwestern University;
Roosevelt University; School of the Art Institute; University of Illinois at Chicago; and University
of Chicago. Lewis University, located in Romeoville, Illinois, is another member of ARCH.
“Reducing energy consumption in our existing buildings will help Northwestern achieve its goal
of becoming a more sustainable campus and reducing energy use,” said Northwestern
President Morton Schapiro. “We are pleased to participate in this important initiative and to
partner with other Chicago-area colleges and universities.”
ARCH was founded in 2012 after Mayor Emanuel’s Green Ribbon Committee identified the role
higher education could play in meeting the City’s climate goals. ARCH is committed to dvancing energy efficiency investment to create a more sustainable future and help
organizations to reduce energy consumption and costs.
“The partnership has demonstrated what can be accomplished when institutions work together
towards a common purpose,” said Adele Simmons, President of the Global Philanthropy
Partnership and member of the Green Ribbon Committee, who conceived the idea for ARCH.
“While each institution was making progress on its own, the ten schools collectively will be able
to amplify their impact significantly,” she added.
“UIC’s Climate Action Plan calls for us to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by
2050,” said Cynthia Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability at the University of
Illinois-Chicago, when asked why joining ARCH was beneficial to UIC. “Through ARCH, we have
accelerated our progress towards meeting our 2050 goal. Our commitment today to reduce
energy use by at least 20 percent in our Science and Engineering Laboratories Complex within
five years is just one example. We’re glad to share our experience and overcome common, but
complicated, hurdles to energy efficiency investment, as well as learn from our peers.”
Today’s commitment demonstrates the schools’ dedication to further action and results. The
alliance is poised to tackle larger issues, like new opportunities to engage utility programs and
establishing novel funding mechanisms for efficiency projects.