Firewall Significance in Benchmarking
Jul 21, 2015

Energy benchmarking in the City of Chicago requires an understanding of what a firewall is and how it affects the requirements for benchmarking.

The simple definition of a Firewall is a wall or partition designed to inhibit or prevent the spread of fire.

Firewall Significance in Benchmarking

The National Fire Protection Association’s more detailed definition describes a firewall as an assembly of materials used to separate transformers, structures, or large buildings to prevent the spread of fire by constructing a wall which extends from the foundation through the roof with a prescribed fire resistance duration and independent structural stability. Building and structural firewalls in North America are usually made of concrete, concrete blocks or reinforced concrete.

Why is this important?

Multi-use buildings can be difficult to benchmark, and some residential housing owners may inadvertently exclude data concerning areas of commercial/retail use within their building that they do not own. However, a firewall, not ownership, determines what has to be reported to the City.

The City of Chicago Energy Benchmarking (CEB) Ordinance requires whole building energy use data. And a building, as defined by the Chicago Municipal Code, 13-4-010, (paraphrased):  means a structure, or part thereof, enclosing any occupancy including residential, business, industrial, storage, and miscellaneous uses. When separated by firewalls, each unit so separated shall be deemed a separate building.

Therefore, single buildings (that are not considered separate per the definition above) with multiple owners are required to benchmark the entire building together. Thus, according to the City code and ordinance, all owners are both jointly and separately accountable. Consequently, cooperation among all parties becomes an integral key to compliance.

Alternative Utility Services, Inc. will coordinate efforts on behalf of our clients and other owners in their building to ensure proper reporting and submittal of information.

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