Obama Administration names 14 partners for smart buildings challenge

Washington, D.C., July 1, 2011 Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced 14 initial partners committing to the Better Buildings Challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative that President Barack Obama launched in February to catalyze private sector investment in commercial building upgrades and make America’s commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade.

The Better Buildings Initiative is co-led by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and former President Bill Clinton. Earlier this month, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness recommended to President Obama prioritizing the Better Buildings Initiative as an important way to support job creation. The initial partners in the challenge include private sector companies, financial institutions and local governments.

“Improving building energy efficiency on a large scale is a challenge we can’t afford not to take,” said Secretary Chu. “It will create jobs, reduce energy waste, save our businesses and institutions money, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

As part of the president’s vision for winning the future by investing in innovative clean energy technologies, the initial partners announced today will work with the Department of Energy in the coming months to further develop the details of the challenge in advance of another round of partnership announcements in the fall.

Commitments announced to date include a pledge by Lend Lease to retrofit 40,000 homes for military families and by Transwestern to upgrade energy efficiency in 78 million square feet of commercial real estate.

Companies and communities announcing commitments today – including Lend Lease, USAA Real Estate Company and the cities of Los Angeles, Seattle and Atlanta to name a few – will provide data on their energy savings and share their efficiency strategies, which will serve as models to save money by saving energy.

Additionally, a number of financial organizations, including Citi, have agreed to support the challenge by helping to provide financing for energy efficiency projects.

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