Over 125 business leaders call on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to act on electrifying and decarbonizing Chicago’s buildings, in a letter to be delivered to the Mayor this afternoon by business groups E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Illinois Green Alliance. E2 also released a new report, “Building Opportunity: Chicago,” revealing that Chicago is already home to more than 12,000 workers employed in making Chicago’s building sector cleaner and more efficient. 

The letter–signed by business leaders from all parts of the city’s economy including architects, real estate developers, financial advisors, sustainability experts, renewable energy developers, energy efficiency contractors, and other business professionals–called for leadership from the Mayor’s office and policies that tap into the job-creating and cost-saving benefits of reducing building emissions.

Micaela Preskill, Midwest Advocate at E2:

“Decarbonizing Chicago’s buildings is not only critical to human health and the environment, but it has the capacity to create significant economic opportunity and even more quality jobs for workers with a broad array experience, skill, and education.”

Chicago can unlock thousands more of these jobs if local policymakers take the right steps. In October 2022, the Mayor’s office released recommendations from the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group, outlining ways to equitably reduce building emissions in the city while boosting Chicago’s local economy creating more clean energy jobs. Last week the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition called on Mayor Lightfoot to pass an ordinance that requires carbon emissions standards for newly constructed buildings.

Erik Etcitty, Apprentice Electrician at Verde Energy Efficiency Experts:

“At a company like mine that does electrical work, the transition to all-electric buildings is an opportunity for growth and job creation. From my vantage point, there is huge potential to electrify churches, schools, and hospitals that are still running on gas and water-cooled compressors. Companies like mine are ready to hire more electricians like me to do the work.”

Mark Stenftenagel, CEO of Whitney Architects:

“There are clear policy actions that Mayor Lightfoot can spearhead to help Chicagoans reap the environmental, health, and economic benefits of cleaning up our city’s buildings. If emissions standards for newly constructed buildings is prioritized and passed early this year, it will be a huge step toward meeting emissions reduction targets, while boosting the building sector’s jobs and economic impact.”

AJ Patton, CEO and Founder of 548 Enterprise:

“My company is building all electric housing on the South and West sides of Chicago. We are testament that the technology is here, and it is cost effective. All electric affordable housing will lower utility costs for residents, and those cost savings re-enter the community to support our local economy.”

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org

Illinois Green Alliance is a nonprofit, mission driven organization working to advance green buildings and sustainable communities for all. Driven by members from within the building industry, we advance our mission through education, policy, and community outreach. Learn more at www.illinoisgreenalliance.org

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