We Can't Wait: President Obama Announces Nearly $4 Billion Investment in Energy Upgrades to Public and Private Buildings

December 2, 2011

Upgrades Will Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs and Save Billions

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector. The $4 billion investment announced today includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers. In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders today committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings. This announcement builds on a commitment made by 14 partners at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June to make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet, and to invest $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects.

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 percent more efficient over the next decade, reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20 percent 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 years – at 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 difference-it 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.

Better Buildings commitments announced today include:

3M is a diversified technology company serving customers and communities with innovative products and services operating in more than 65 countries. To date, 3M has cut absolute worldwide GHG emissions 72% from 1990-2010. With 78 plants committed to the Challenge, 3M aims to reduce energy use an additional 25% by 2015 in 37 million square feet of building space. Through the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge, 3M will maintain a focus on transparency around a capital set aside for energy efficiency projects, and highlight an innovative recognition program that rewards top performing plants.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and its affiliated labor unions are engaged in a major effort to find ways for skilled labor, Taft-Hartley and public employee retirement funds to be appropriately engaged in energy-saving building retrofits and infrastructure improvements across America. In addition to making investment managers aware of the many compelling investment opportunities in building retrofits and infrastructure, the AFL-CIO will undertake an energy-efficiency retrofit of its own headquarters to serve as a signature component of the Better Buildings Challenge. The AFL-CIO will work with existing real estate-focused investment funds to invest $150 million of capital in energy efficient retrofits of commercial, multifamily, institutional and public buildings.

Alcoa has made a commitment of improving energy efficiency by 25% across 30 million square feet of industrial plant space by the year 2020. Alcoa's portfolio for the Challenge consists of 30 plants, which currently consume 42 trillion BTUs of energy. Alcoa will be showcasing a $21M investment in an expansion of its Barberton, Ohio facility. This project involves a new 35,000 square foot building to advance the company’s recycling and casting process by producing new wheels from re-melted and scrap aluminum. This will be the first of its kind in North America and is expected to create 30 full-time jobs and help protect more than 350 current positions.

Allegheny College
Allegheny College -- a national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel -- will celebrate its bicentennial in 2015. A leader in sustainability, the college has committed to achieving climate neutrality by the year 2020. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Allegheny College will reduce energy consumption 20% by 2020 in 1.3 million square feet of building space across their campus. Carr Hall, currently under renovation, will house the Richard J. Cook Center for Environmental Science and be showcased under the Better Buildings Challenge program. The renovation includes high-efficiency HVAC systems, daylighting and efficient lighting solutions, as well as glazing, shading, and a vestibule to increase the lobby's energy efficiency.

Ascension Health
Ascension Health is the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system with 68 acute care facilities across 20 states and the District of Columbia. Ascension Health focuses on serving all persons with special attention given to the underserved and last year, provided $1.2 billion in care to persons living in poverty and community benefit programs. Ascension Health’s Environmental Stewardship Program is committed to create social, financial and environmental benefits for patients, visitors, associates and the local communities served. As a Better Building Challenge Partner, Ascension Health has committed to a 20% reduction in energy use by 2020 across 30 million square feet of acute care hospitals and related facilities.

Blue Hill Partners LLC
Blue Hill Partners is a green sector investment firm which provides capital, management support and strategic guidance, and employs investment capital to create and fund optimized service solutions for improving the built environment. Blue Hill Partners has teamed with the Pennsylvania Treasury Department to lead the investment of over $45 million in energy efficiency and sustainability projects at Pennsylvania colleges and universities through the Campus Energy Efficiency Fund. As a Better Buildings Challenge Ally, Blue Hill Partners commits to achieving over $50 million of energy efficiency investments.

Briggs and Stratton
Briggs & Stratton Corporation is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Briggs & Stratton Products Group is North America’s number one manufacturer of portable generators and pressure washers, and is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lawn and garden and turf care. Its brands include Brute, Snapper, Simplicity, Ferris and Murray. Briggs & Stratton has a longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and has set a goal to improve energy intensity by 25 percent by 2018 across eight manufacturing plants and a total of 5.8 million square feet of facility space.

CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm (in terms of 2010 revenue). CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Through its partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge, CBRE has established an energy efficiency commitment of achieving on average a 20% energy reduction target by 2020 across an initial portfolio totaling 25 million square feet of buildings nationwide. The reduction strategies will include multiple efforts such as providing resource and training support to CBRE management staff, implementing no cost and low cost opportunities to increase operational efficiencies and improve facility energy performance as well as encourage capital funding from our clients to perform equipment and retrofit upgrades as applicable to further drive efficiencies.

Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 155,000 hospital admissions. As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, the Cleveland Clinic is targeting 24 million square feet of building space over 204 different buildings with a 20% energy reduction commitment by 2020. As a leader in energy efficiency, their participation in the Better Buildings Challenge and examples of success they will share will set the example for the healthcare industry.

Cummins Inc.
Cummins Inc., designs, manufactures, distributes and services engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems. Cummins serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of more than 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 5,200 dealer locations. Cummins places a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability and uses its technological advantage to build the cleanest, most efficient diesel engines and power generation systems in the world. The company is taking a number of steps to achieve its target of improving energy intensity by 25 percent over ten years, including setting up a dedicated energy efficiency capital fund, pursuing ISO 50001 certification at select plants, and appointing energy champions to help lead its energy efficiency efforts.

Delaware State University
Delaware State University (DSU) serves a diverse student population with a broad range of programs, and as a Better Buildings Challenge Partner has set a goal to reduce energy consumption in almost 2 million square feet of building space 25% by 2015. DSU will implement measures to increase energy efficiency and upgrade important facility systems using an innovative option for financing capital improvements with energy savings. DSU maintains a historic plot of Delaware land that is now a picturesque 400-acre campus.

Denver, CO
The City and County of Denver has made energy efficiency a core tenant of the Greenprint Denver sustainability initiative. Through its partnership with the Better Buildings Challenge, the City has committed to reducing energy use by 20 percent by 2020 across its building portfolio, which totals more than 6 million square feet. Mayor Michael B. Hancock plans to use the City's leadership to challenge private building owners, the non-profit sector, and schools to pledge similar energy reduction goals. Denver will undertake a number of energy savings projects within its own buildings, educate external partners through outreach programs, and showcase significant projects throughout the community, including a deep retrofit of the Alliance Center and the Living City Block program.

The District of Columbia
Through its partnership with the Better Buildings Challenge, the District of Columbia is committing to a multi-pronged action plan to reduce energy consumption in over 90 million square feet of city and privately held buildings in the downtown core by at least 20 percent by 2020. The District has set forth an energy efficiency and renewable energy agenda and has invested in long-term incentive programs that will support a public-private collaboration and ensure that Washington is a national leader in the energy efficiency economy. The District has made a series of commitments on its own 300+ buildings that will demonstrate leadership from the top, among them completing energy audits, implementing a showcase retrofit and investing at least $4 million in the next five years on energy efficiency measures. The District has long-term commitment to energy efficiency programs and policies that support the Better Buildings Challenge, including a benchmarking and disclosure regulation for over 3,000 private commercial buildings, making the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) a one-stop shop for the District’s energy efficiency solutions and resources and the creation of energy efficiency financing tools targeted at commercial building owners. These financing tools and products will provide at least $225 million in competitively-priced capital to commercial owners over the next nine years to fund energy efficiency improvements. The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (“BID”) and the DowntownDC ecoDistrict have accepted the Better Buildings Challenge in partnership with the District of Columbia and Mayor Vincent Gray.

Douglas County School District, NV
The Douglas County School District (DCSD) serves the communities of Gardnerville, Minden, Genoa and Zephyr Cove at Lake Tahoe, nestled among the 751 square miles of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Carson Valley. DCSD is the 6th largest in the state of Nevada, and provides a high quality education to over 6,200 students. Douglas County School District is committing to a 20% energy reduction by 2020, and will retrofit approximately 944,000 square feet across eleven (11) schools and multiple support facilities. DCSD has recently completed an energy savings performance contract targeting facility upgrades and infrastructure repairs in all eleven (11) of its schools and as additional improvements are made through bond initiatives, energy efficiency standards are implemented to continue reaping the benefits of energy savings. DCDS will be highlighting their energy efficiency upgrades at the Gardnerville Elementary School which is currently under renovation.

Energi, Inc
Energi Inc. is a Massachusetts based Industrial Reinsurance Company that provides innovative risk management and insurance programs to segments of the energy industry. As a way to enable market activity, Energi and Hannover Re jointly developed "Energy Savings Warranty," a program that insures the energy savings guarantees made by energy efficiency contractors or ESCOs. As a Better Buildings Challenge Financial Ally, Energi has committed to insure a minimum of $50 million in retrofit projects.

Forest City Enterprises
Forest City Enterprises is a national real estate company engaged in the ownership, development, management, and acquisition of commercial and residential real estate and land. With more than $10billion in total assets, Forest City Enterprise’s diverse portfolio includes retail, office, conventional housing and federally assisted housing buildings. The company is a leader in mixed-used communities, adaptive reuse projects, and sustainable properties. Forest City Enterprises defines sustainability as one of its core values, and as a Better Buildings Challenge partner is committed to reducing energy consumption 20% by 2020 across 14 million square feet.

GE works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. In 2010, GE achieved a 33 percent improvement in its own energy intensity, a 24% reduction in its GHG emissions (both from a 2004 baseline) and 22% improvement in its water re-use (from a 2006 baseline). In 2010, GE set new, more aggressive targets for 2015: A 50 percent energy intensity improvement, 25% GHG emissions reduction, and a 25% water reduction, from the same baselines across more than 105 million square feet. GE Capital Americas (GECA) will shape a credit strike zone and profitability model for commercial building energy efficiency projects that will lead to financeable opportunities of $50MM+. GECA will use its best efforts to create financial products to meet market needs through all steps of the supply chain from manufacturers, to dealers to end users. GECA foresees the ability to help financing energy-saving technologies in areas such as lighting and HVAC across multiple markets – including office, retail and manufacturing.

HEI Hotels & Resorts
HEI Hotels & Resorts located in Norwalk, CT is a hospitality owner and operator of over 40 well-known upscale and luxury hotels including well-known brands Marriott, Renaissance, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, “W”, Hilton, Embassy Suites and Crowne Plaza totaling nearly 10 million square feet throughout the United States and representing approximately $2.5 billion total investment. HEI is a leader in energy efficiency having reduced their portfolio wide consumption between 5% & 7% annually the past few years and currently, HEI is working towards company-wide 2011 targets for energy savings and waste reduction of 3.5% and 10% respectively. As part of their participation in the Better Buildings Challenge, HEI has committed to reducing the energy use in their ever growing 10 million square feet of building space 20% by 2020.

Houston Independent School District, TX
The Houston Independent School District is the largest school District in the state of Texas. The District provides a quality K-12 education to over 200,000 students in the City of Houston. The District is implementing a large scale, comprehensive energy efficiency project that will include behavioral initiatives, retro-commissioning, capital asset upgrades and water conservation measures. The District is committing to a 30% energy reduction by 2015 and will retrofit approximately 24 million square feet. Not only will this project decrease energy consumption, it will significantly improve learning by creating a more comfortable and conducive learning environment.

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)
IHG is an international hotel company managing seven highly recognized hotel brands including Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites with more than 4,500 hotels in 100 countries. IHG’s currently has a company-wide benchmarking initiative that aims to realize energy savings ranging from 6% to 10% in owned and managed properties by 2012. IHG is participating in the Better Buildings Challenge by committing 24 million square feet of hotels.

Jones Lang LaSalle
Jones Lang LaSalle is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate services and investment management, and operating in 1,000 locations in 70 countries. As a Better Buildings Challenge partner, Jones Lang LaSalle is committing to develop implementable programs to improve energy efficiency at large properties totaling 98 million square feet across its U.S. managed portfolio, in order to achieve a 20% energy reduction by 2020. Through this partnership, Jones Lang LaSalle will highlight its innovative strategies to identify energy savings and determine costs to develop a “shovel ready” set of projects backed by a solid business case for investment.

Kentucky Community and Technical College System
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), founded in 1998, is a system of 16 comprehensive community and technical colleges operating on 68 campuses. KCTCS is the largest provider of postsecondary and workforce training in Kentucky, enrolling more than 51 percent of Kentucky’s postsecondary public headcount enrollment and offering more than 600 program offerings. As a Better Buildings Challenge Partner, KCTCS is committing to reduce 20% of energy use by 2020 across 7 million gross square feet, comprising approximately 600 buildings. KCTCS will showcase an integration of building automation systems, utility meter interval data, utility bill data, and regression analysis software that will allow KCTCS to perform a software continuous commissioning process.

Kohl’s Department Stores
As a national retail company, Kohl’s knows that its biggest impact on the environment comes from the energy use of its more than 1,000 stores and has made managing energy use a key strategy for driving savings and conserving resources. Kohl’s manages energy-related initiatives in energy management, ENERGY STAR certification and renewable energy, including solar. By joining the Better Buildings Challenge, Kohl’s commits to reduce its use of energy in more than 112 million square feet of occupied building space by at least 20 percent by 2020.

Legrand is a leading provider of products and systems for electrical installations and information networks for the built environment with 170,000 products divided into 95 categories worldwide. Legrand has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through its corporate-wide adoption of ISO 14001 and by becoming an industry leader in energy