Mayor Johnson, Ald. Hadden, Business Leaders, and Environmental Justice Advocates Announce Introduction of Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO)

Making new buildings all-electric is the first step in necessary transition away from dirty, expensive fossil fuels

CHICAGO – With nearly 1 in 5 residents behind on their gas bills and gas rates continuing to increase, Mayor Brandon Johnson and Committee of Environmental Protection and Energy Chair Ald. Maria Hadden (49) announced Tuesday the introduction of the Clean and Affordable Buildings (CABO). The proposal would require newly constructed buildings to comply with an emission standard, requiring zero-to-low emission energy systems, a key first step in the necessary transition away from dirty, expensive fossil fuels.

“Too many Chicagoans are having trouble paying their gas bills, and too many families are exposed to chemicals that cause cancer and asthma when burning gas in their kitchens,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “That is why we are taking the first step toward making how we heat our homes more affordable, and making indoor air safer for every Chicagoan.”

The ordinance sets an indoor emissions standard that would effectively eliminate the use of fossil fuels in newly constructed buildings in Chicago. The emissions standard would go into effect for building permits issued one year after the ordinance’s passage. More than 50 municipalities across the United States, including New York City and Los Angeles, have passed similar ordinances.

“We are pleased that business leaders, environmental justice activists, and consumer groups have come together to agree on the first step in a managed transition away from fossil fuels–stopping the expansion of the gas system,” said 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden, who noted that over a dozen alders will sponsor Mayor Johnson’s ordinance when it comes before Chicago City Council on Wednesday.

Requiring all-electric new construction was a key recommendation of the Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group (CBDWG) report, released by the City in October 2022. This report was developed over months of gathering input from stakeholders, and recommends equitable solutions to address the nearly 70% of total citywide greenhouse gas emissions that come from buildings in Chicago.

Multiple studies show that electric buildings are cheaper to build and maintain. RMI’s analysis found that all electric households saved money in every scenario assessed.

“The majority of our clients – both occupiers and investors in real estate – have sustainability and net zero/emissions reduction goals. As the leader in commercial real estate services and sustainability, we do as well. Policies like the Clean Affordable Building Ordinance (CABO) are critical to support the transition to electrification, which allow these corporate net zero emissions goals to be realized – more efficiently and effectively.,” said Annalise Dum, Vice President of Sustainability at Chicago-headquartered real estate and investment management company JLL.

Gas appliances pollute indoor air quality with benzene, a chemical that causes cancer. Burning methane gas also produces dangerous pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter that increase risks of childhood asthma. 1 in 5 Illinois cases of childhood asthma are attributable to cooking with gas, according to a recent peer-reviewed analysis.

CABO is supported by a coalition of more than 50 consumer, community, environmental, environmental justice, and faith organizations.

“We need a transition away from gas that is just and equitable, and we’re not going to get there without input from frontline communities like mine on Chicago’s far southside,” said Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of People for Community Recovery. “This ordinance is a signal that the mayor’s office and the city council are willing to do right by every single Chicagoan, especially those of us living daily with the impacts of Chicago’s long history of environmental racism. It’s an important and promising first step towards a Chicago where all homes are safe, healthy and affordable, regardless of zip code.”

Electrification policies have enormous job-creation potential, which is especially important in communities disproportionately hurt by pollution and poverty. Building electrification and energy efficiency employs twice as many workers than fossil fuels in buildings already in Chicago. A similar policy in New York City has the potential to create a $20 billion market opportunity and more than 15,000 jobs.

“At a company like mine that does electrical work, the transition to all-electric buildings is an opportunity for growth and job creation. Companies like mine are ready to hire more electricians like me to do the work,” said Jamie Johnson, CEO and Founder at Chicago-based electrical contractor Verde Energy Experts.

CABO is expected to be assigned to a joint committee of Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards and Environmental Protection and Energy of the Chicago City Council and already has 13 sponsors.

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Mayor Johnson’s Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO) is supported by a diverse group of stakeholders including –

City Council Co-Sponsors:

Alders LaSpata (1), Hall (6), Ramirez (12), Rodriguez (22), Sigcho Lopez (25), Fuentes (26), Cruz (30), Rodriguez Sanchez (33), Ramirez-Rosa (35), Vasquez (40), Knudsen (43), Martin (47), Manaa-Hoppenworth (48), Hadden (49)

Chicago Business Leaders:

Chris Dillion, President of Chicago-based real estate development company Campbell Coyle: 

“Several years ago, we made a bold decision to rethink our multi-family projects in Chicago. Embracing all-electric, we’ve now integrated this commitment across a growing number of projects. Our focus on decarbonization, coupled with the adoption of state-of-the-art technologies, is not just a choice; it’s a testament to our dedication to innovation and value creation—both environmental and economic—that we bring to our portfolio.”

Annalise Dum, Vice President of Sustainability, JLL (Chicago-headquartered real estate and investment management company): 

“The majority of our clients – both occupiers and investors in real estate – have sustainability and net zero/emissions reduction goals. As the leader in commercial real estate services and sustainability, we do as well. Policies like the Clean Affordable Building Ordinance (CABO) are critical to support the transition to electrification, which allow these corporate net zero emissions goals to be realized – more efficiently and effectively.”

Jamie Johnson, CEO and Founder, Verde Energy Experts (Chicago-based electrical contractor):

“The transition to all-electric buildings will create a lot of jobs in Chicago. Companies like mine are already installing heat pumps and seeing our clients reap the benefits. And we are ready to hire more electricians, HVAC technicians, and other trades to do more of this work throughout our city.”

John Gay, President, JAQ Corp. (Chicago-based architecture firm):

“As an architect with projects throughout Chicago, we see the value of building all electric traversing multiple market sectors and building typologies. We recognized our client’s utility bills were rising, and having an all-electric heating and cooling system was the solution. Not to mention, the way the technology works, our clients have more control of their electric systems which helps them more comfortable, have better air quality, and are able to lower their utility bills. It’s a no brainer for anyone building new construction today.”

Miguel Martinez, Regional Sales Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Trane (leading heat pump manufacturing company):

“Heat pumps are already operating throughout Chicago without incident, even in the most extreme weather we’ve had here in Chicago in recent years. Bottom line is this technology is feasible and constructing new buildings without fossil fuels is a logical step that benefits businesses and consumers alike.”

Local Organizations:

350 Chicago

A Just Harvest

Action for the Climate Emergency

AIA Chicago

Blacks in Green

Center for Changing Lives

Center for Neighborhood Technology

Change Peoria


Chicago Energy Technology

Chicago Environmental Justice Network (CEJN)

Citizens Utility Board (CUB)

Climate Reality Chicago



Edgewater Environmental Coalition

EJ Taskforce at University of Chicago


Environment Illinois

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Law and Policy Center

Environmentalist of Color (EOC)

Equitable Resilience & Sustainability LLC

Faith in Place

Garfield Park Community Council

Heartland Alliance

Housing Action Illinois

Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition

Illinois Environmental Council

Illinois Green Alliance

IL Green New Deal Coalition

Illinois PIRG

Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)

Jane Addams Senior Caucus

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

League of Women Voters of Chicago

Legal Action Chicago

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Northwest Center

NRDC / NRDC Action Fund

ONE Northside

Open Communities

People for Community Recovery

PERRO Pilsen Environmental Rights Reform Org

Phoenix Sustainability Initiative

Plant Chicago

Respiratory Health Association


Sierra Club Illinois


Southeast Environmental Task Force

Student Environmental Alliance of Loyola Chicago

Sunrise Movement Chicago

The Peoples Lobby

Third Act Illinois

Union of Concerned Scientists

Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of IL

Urban Environmentalists Illinois

Vote Solar

Woodstock Institute


The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) is made up of hundreds of environmental advocacy organizations, businesses, community leaders, consumer advocates, environmental justice groups, and faith-based and student organizations working together to improve public health and the environment, protect consumers, and create equitable, clean jobs across the state. After more than three years of community organizing and policy leadership, in 2021, ICJC was instrumental in helping pass the nation-leading Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA).