Today's commitments were announced by President Obama and former President Clinton along with representatives from more than 60 organizations as part of the Better Buildings Challenge.
The Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched in February by President Obama, and is spearheaded by former President Clinton and the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to support job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades to make America's buildings 20 more efficient over the next decade, reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20 of all the energy used by the U.S. economy.
"Upgrading the energy efficiency of America's buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now. But we can't wait for Congress to act. So today, I'm directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next 2 yearsat no up-front cost to the taxpayer. Coupled with today's extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step towards the competitive, clean energy economy it will take to win the future," said President Obama.
"Investments in building retrofits and energy efficiency can make a real difference in the American economy, by creating jobs, growing our industries, improving businesses' bottom lines, reducing our energy bills and consumption, and preserving our planet for future generations. I am proud the Clinton Foundation has been able to help develop and grow President Obama's Better Buildings Challenge, and that so many members of the Clinton Global Initiative have joined this Challenge. Working together, I am pleased the commitments to the BBC have grown from the initial $500 million and 300 million square feet that we announced in June at CGI America, to the $2 billion investment with over 1 billion square feet of retrofitted space that we are announcing today," said President Clinton.
"The Better Buildings initiative has all the components to make a real differenceit will create profitable investment opportunities for worker pension funds, create badly needed good jobs, increase America's competitiveness around energy savings, and address the dangers of climate change," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
In a move the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recognized as critical to job creation, today's Presidential Memorandum calls for fully implementing existing federal authority to utilize Energy Savings Performance Contracts ESPCs in order to promote energy efficiency and create new jobs. Under the ESPC program, new energy efficient equipment is installed at federal facilities at no up-front cost to the government. The cost of the improvements is paid for over time with energy costs saved on utility bills, and the private sector contractors guarantee the energy savings.