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Municipal Climate Planning


Elevate works on climate justice initiatives with communities and other public sector entities across the country.

We work closely with each community to develop their sustainability and energy goals, and then integrate actions into the community’s everyday roles, responsibilities, and strategic priorities.

Our team of planning professionals and energy analysts takes a comprehensive approach and offers a menu of available services to examine a community’s energy, transportation, waste, water, and land use. Our services include:

  • Analysis of current community-wide energy use by building sector
  • Projections of community-wide energy use based on anticipated population and changing land use patterns
  • Analysis of energy savings potential via community-appropriate policy and programmatic strategies

Since 2004, Elevate has partnered with over 200 municipalities on their sustainability and climate plans.

Municipal Planning Experience: Chicago Residential Retrofit Roadmap

In 2020, Elevate began working with the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the City of Chicago, and ComEd to look at the potential for energy savings in Chicago’s housing stock to help inform Chicago’s citywide planning efforts to develop greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies. The group initiated a three-year project to develop and test retrofit solutions that aim to show that the typical Chicago home can reduce energy use by 50%. The team identified 20 priority communities to focus retrofits on in order to drive clean energy and climate investments to Chicago’s under resourced communities. In 2022, Elevate began construction of these retrofit packages at a selection of Chicago homes and will monitor the homes’ performance for a year to measure actual energy savings. Read more about the project.

Municipal Planning Experience: City of Evanston Municipal Operations Zero Emissions Strategy

In partnership with Center for Neighborhood Technology, Elevate teamed up with City of Evanston staff from several key municipal departments to develop the Evanston Municipal Operations Zero Emissions Strategy in 2021. The Strategy charts the path forward to achieving net zero emissions in Evanston’s municipal operations by 2035. As part of this project, the team developed a fleet analysis and action plan, conducted net zero energy assessment case studies for three municipal buildings, and led a series of workshops for both internal municipal staff and external stakeholders. Read more about the project.

Municipal Planning Experience: Chicago Building Decarbonization Policy Working Group

In Chicago, nearly 70% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the built environment. In 2020, Elevate partnered with the City of Chicago, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge to help identify a strategic path forward for building decarbonization. This three-phase project included best practices research from other North American cities, developing and facilitating a six-month stakeholder engagement approach, and finally, leading a 54-person Working Group to develop a final set of strategic building decarbonization recommendations. The Working Group is comprised of a wide range of stakeholders, as noted in a City announcement from June 2021. The building decarbonization strategy is part of Chicago’s Green Recovery Agenda. Elevate anticipates the release of the final Building Decarbonization Working Group report in early 2022.

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