Government Getting People Working On Better Buildings

Dave Johnson

For years people have been asking why we don’t launch a national effort to save energy and create jobs by retrofitting buildings to be more energy-efficient. Last week I wrote that even simple things, like painting roofs white can save energy and employ a lot of people. Finally a green-buildings effort effort is getting underway. Government can work, we can save energy, people can be employed and things can start getting better.

Last week at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – America, Energy Sec Chu announced the Better Buildings Challenge that will begin in three cities – Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta. This is a partnership between government and business to begin retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient. Saving money and energy while improving the economy, the effort will directly create as many as 114,000 obs.

Sec. Chu said that energy efficiency is “the lowest hanging fruit” in fighting global warming, the country will save money making proper investments.

Some facts:

  • Commercial buildings use about 20% of our country’s energy. Add in residential and government, buildings use 40% through heating, cooling, lighting, etc.
  • The Better Buildings initiative will attempt to make buildings 22% more efficient.
  • This is a huge energy savings.
  • This will bring direct creation of jobs.
  • Businesses can then reinvest the energy savings back into their businesses, which will save companies about $40 billion a year.
  • The pilot program for this initiative will create more than 114,000 jobs.

Several companies have signed up for this first round, and $500 million financing is coming from Citi.

According to the representative from Citi at the press conference, they will devote $250 million aggregated energy finance. This will be an aggregation of energy efficiency in bridge to capital markets. He made of point of saying that while this is very small financing for Citi, he wants to stress while that they do most of their business outside US they still see US as important. So it is good for us, then, that Citi still thinks the US is important and is still willing to make a very small investment.

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