While cleaning up Chicago’s governing body is an exercise in futility, the city has declared that it will clean up its buildings—or rather, the way public buildings are powered. Over the weekend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city plans to transition all municipal buildings to 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The city says that it used 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016 to power all municipal buildings. This figure translates to roughly eight percent of the entire city’s energy consumption. Once the transition has been completed, Chicago will become the largest US city to have public buildings running entirely on renewable energy.
The timing of the announcement is not a coincidence either. In the city’s official announcement, Mayor Emanuel specifically states that the city is making this move as a response to President Donald Trump’s positions on renewable energy and the environment.
“As the Trump administration pulls back on building a clean energy economy, Chicago is doubling down,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the announcement. “By committing the energy used to power our public buildings to wind and solar energy, we are sending a clear signal that we remain committed to building a 21st century economy here in Chicago.”
The Sierra Club, an environmental watchdog group, suggests that the announcement adds cache to Chicago’s commitment to being an environmentally responsible city, and that the transition of municipal buildings to renewable energy roughly translates to about 295,000 Chicago households running on clean power. The Sierra Club adds that Chicago has the largest fleet of public buildings in the nation, only adding significance to the announcement that the city will transition to pure renewable energy in a few years.