Chicago is known as a city of skyscrapers, with some of the world’s tallest and largest buildings dotting the famous skyline. But all that square footage carries a hefty energy price tag, as well as significant opportunities for improved efficiency and savings. To encourage building owners to assess and reduce their energy usage, the City of Chicago passed the Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance in 2013, requiring certain properties to report energy data.
Through civic hacking events and open data portals, the Obama administration has embraced the potential of data and programming to improve the performance of government for its citizens. As academia and industry increasingly moves toward using computational techniques to inform policy decisions, these more ambitious efforts have also attracted the attention of the White House. On April 4th, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) convened a panel called “Analytical Techniques to Improve Public Policy Decision-Making” at their regular meeting, inviting CI Senior Fellow Charlie Catlett and three other experts to report on the promise of this young research area.