2022 Chicago Energy Transformation Code

Expected Effective Date: November 1, 2022

Chicago City Council passed Mayor Lightfoot’s 2022 Chicago Energy Transformation Code, which replaced the 2019 Chicago Energy Conservation Code on September 21, 2022. The updated Chicago Energy Transformation Code, based on the 2021 IECC with Chicago Amendments, is expected to become effective on November 1, 2022. This Code will apply to building permits applied for on or after November 1, 2022, with additional requirements taking effect on January 1, 2023.

The full ordinance can be accessed here:

More than Energy Conservation 

Unlike previous energy codes, which focused exclusively on reducing building energy usage, the Energy Transformation Code will also incentivize the use of equipment types and energy sources that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with the City’s recently released Climate Action Plan. Implementation of the Energy Transformation Code will save energy and reduce the carbon footprint for both residential and commercial buildings.

Chicago’s new Energy Transformation Code will exceed the 2021 IECC baseline and advance the city’s decarbonization commitments in several important ways:

  • Requires placement of windows in new buildings to minimize energy demands due to solar heat gain in summer
  • Requires new low-rise commercial buildings, such as warehouses, to be designed so roofs can support the future installation of solar panels
  • Requires new residences with gas-fired appliances to be built with the electrical capacity and wiring necessary to switch to electric appliances in the future without opening walls or upgrading the electrical service
  • Requires improved insulation to reduce heat loss through the exterior walls of buildings with projecting balconies or parapets
  • Incentivizes the use of smart heating, cooling, and hot water equipment that is integrated with the electric grid to reduce demand during peak usage
  • Requires indoor plant-growing facilities to use energy-efficient lighting
  • Prohibits new decorative gas lighting

Alternative Compliance Paths: Two New Building Certification Programs  

Further, Chicago’s new Energy Code will recognize two rigorous building certification programs as alternative ways to comply: the 2021 Phius standard and the gold and emerald certification levels under the 2020 National Green Building Standard (NGBS). The Phius 2021 Standard, sometimes referred to as a “passive building” standard, is maintained by a Chicago-based nonprofit and is widely recognized throughout the United States for balancing aggressive energy and carbon reduction targets with cost-effectiveness. The NGBS is the only residential green building standard developed through a consensus process and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Both certification programs require rigorous pre-construction reviews and post-construction verifications by independent third-party reviewers, which supplement the Department’s own building permitting and inspection processes.

For more information on the 2022 Chicago Energy Transformation Code, please visit the City of Chicago webpage.