Illinois Green Policy Update: June 2024 

Illinois Advances Sustainability Goals in Spring Legislative Session

Last month, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its Spring 2024 legislative session. The big climate news from the session was the passage of the Safety and Aid for the Environment in Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Act. While CCS can be used to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere from industrial sources and powerplants by transporting, treating, and then storing the pollution underground, there is a risk of contaminating nearby land and groundwater if these types of projects are improperly planned and implemented. The Act sets some of the strongest protections in the country, which will become increasingly relevant in the future as existing fossil fuel emitters will be required to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas impacts.  

Enviromental groups fought for changes to the bill to protect the state’s health, land, and water from leeching carbon storage sites by adding safeguards and placing liability requirements on those who undertake these projects. Learn more about CSS and the new regulations here. 

While this was the big climate headline from the 2024 legislative session in Springfield, there were wins that will have impacts on the growth of the business of decarbonizing the built environment.  

  • Workforce Training: The legislature took a step to remove red tape and accelerate the rollout of new green workforce training hubs funded by the landmark Clean and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). Lawmakers removed a higher-education accreditation requirement that had halted the implementation of the hubs. They also allocated funding for an additional training hub in Waukegan, the 14th planned across the state. Officials hope that these hubs will begin to open by the end of the year. Read more here.  
  • Leading by Example: Lawmakers allocated millions of dollars and passed a new law to do more to address energy efficiency in state-owned facilities. The state allocated $70 million for the Capital Development Board to fund energy efficiency renovations at government facilities and another $35 million for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as part of the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure initiative. Also, now waiting for Governor Pritzker’s signature is the Outdoor Lighting Control Act which will require state buildings to reduce light pollution and improve efficiency by incorporating timers, sensors, and downlighting systems. Read more here.

Other environmental action from 2024 Illinois General Assembly Session includes:  

  • Statewide environmental education for K-12 students. Read more here; 
  • $70 million for electric vehicle charging and other transportation electrification; 
  • New rules to phase out florescent lighting sales by 2025 or 2026. Read more here.

Additionally, the new Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition platform—a follow up to the transformative Climate and Equitable Jobs Act—was introduced and will be debated further in the fall legislative session.  

More Green Building Highlights

  • The Illinois Residential and Commercial Stretch Code has reached its final hurdle. The stretch codes have been sent to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for final approval. Currently, JCAR has opened a public comment period. These comments will be considered for any final edits and then JCAR will open a final comment period before voting on approval. Building professionals are highly encouraged to contact JCAR at to tell the committee to adopt the stretch codes without any weakening amendments.
  • "Here are the estimated health and financial burdens caused by exposure to pollution from gas stoves: 19,000 annual deaths, 200,000 cases of pediatric asthma and $1 billion in societal costs.” Dr. Juanita Mora, a local pediatric allergist and lung health expert, wrote an op-ed published in the Chicago Tribune where she discussed her experience treating Chicagoans suffering from poor indoor air quality. In the piece she discusses how known carcinogens emanate from gas appliances and devastate the health of the city’s most vulnerable and the necessity to pass the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance. Read the piece here.
  • A new report shows that electrification will create tens of thousands of new jobs in Illinois, far outweighing any possible job loss. The research from Advanced Energy United found that even pursuing moderate levels of electrification would create over 36,000 new jobs in the residential sector and over 27,000 in the commercial sector. Find the report here. 
  • The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has slashed another rate hike proposal from Peoples Gas. In this latest ask, Peoples appealed a previous ICC’s decision that halted an emergency pipeline replacement program. This program, alongside other spending and budget hikes, was put on hold due to significant cost overruns and lack of progress, all while the gas utility saw record profits in the previous year. More here.
  • Illinois has been granted nearly $15 million dollars in federal funding for an energy efficiency revolving fund program. These dollars will be given to the Illinois Finance Authority Climate Bank for commercial building owners in disadvantaged communities to fund energy efficiency projects. Read the announcement here.
  • The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing to replace the school system’s aging facilities with healthier, more sustainable schools. The union is hoping to secure heat pumps, solar panels, lead pipe removal, and more in their latest round of negotiations with Chicago Public Schools (CPS). They say that their goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 is vital to protecting their student’s health and the financial wellbeing of the district. However, CPS has expressed concern with the price tag behind these initiatives, especially with current concerns about funding gaps. This year’s contract negotiations are ongoing. Find their Green Schools Platform here. 

In Other News

  • Congress passes bill to remove costs, red tape for new nuclear power plants.
    Read moreThe Hill 
  • Learn how buildings in New York are adapting to their Building Performance Standard policy.
    Read moreCanary Media 
  • Electric Vehicle manufacturer Rivian receives over $800 million to expand Illinois factory, manufacture new model in-state.
    Read more – Bloomberg