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Green Building Ordinance

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The Evanston Green Building Ordinance was developed to support the Evanston Climate Action Plan’s (ECAP) goals of increased energy efficiency in buildings and facilities, and reflects the City’s ongoing commitment to constant improvement of sustainable practices in the natural and built environment.

Green Building Ordinance

The ECAP was developed in 2008 to help the City meet its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions as a signatory of the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Evanston’s Green Building Ordinance is designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce the use of materials that aren’t sustainably produced, as well as lessen the environmental impact of new construction, additions, and interior renovation projects. Requirements are defined based on the size of the project in square feet and designate that projects either obtain a US Green Building Council LEED Silver Rating or higher or employ a prescribed number of Sustainable Building Measures for New Construction or for Major Renovation Projects as appropriate. LEED Certification is an internationally-recognized certification system that promotes sustainable building and development practices. Projects can choose the LEED Rating System which is applicable to the project in effect 180 days prior to the date of application for a building permit.

Green Ordinance - Measures Summary - Interior Renovations

Green Ordinance Measures Summary - New Buildings & Additions

New Construction and Additions Projects
New construction or addition projects that are City-owned or financed and commercial/multi-family buildings must meet the following requirements:

  • Projects greater than 20,000 square feet must obtain a LEED Silver Rating or higher.
  • Projects between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet must either obtain at least a LEED Silver Rating or employ eight or more measures from at least five of the eight major categories in the Evanston Sustainable Building Measures for New Construction (ESBMNC) list.

Interior Renovations
Interior renovations of all City-owned or City-financed facilities, all commercial buildings, and all multifamily buildings must meet the following requirements:

  • Employ LEED for Commercial Interiors and achieve Silver Rating or higher LEED certification;


  •  Employ the version of the City of Evanston Sustainable Building Measures for Interior Renovations (ESBMIR) list and shall employ no fewer than:
  1. 3 measures from the ESBMIR for projects less than 5,000 sq. ft.;
  2. 5 measures from the ESBMIR for projects 5,000 sq. ft. to 20,000 sq. ft.;
  3. 7 measures from the ESBMIR for projects greater than 20,000 sq. ft.

Why Green Buildings?
Buildings contribute the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the City. Buildings which are designed, built, commissioned and operated in an efficient and sustainable manner economize resources, use materials wisely, and employ new techniques for conserving energy and water, all of which help to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Green buildings have been shown to result in occupants’ or owners’ savings in energy and building system costs. Green buildings also provide gains by providing a healthier workplace, reducing operating expenses, and saving money in utility costs.

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