Obama to Announce Major Energy-Efficiency
Initiative for Commercial Buildings
February 3, 2011
President Obama is expected to unveil later today a "Better
Buildings Initiative" with a goal of making commercial buildings
20-percent more energy-efficient by 2020 by catalyzing private
sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices,
stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals,
and other commercial buildings.
This new commercial component initiative builds on investments
through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and
the proposed HOMESTAR legislation that encourages energy saving
upgrades in homes.
During a speech taking place this afternoon at Penn State University,
the President is expected to propose to make American businesses
more energy-efficient through a series of five new initiatives:
New tax incentives for building efficiency:
The President is calling on Congress to redesign the current
tax deduction for commercial building upgrades, changing the
current deduction to a credit that is more generous and that
will encourage building owners and real estate investment trusts
to retrofit their properties. These changes could result in
a ten-fold increase in commercial retrofit take up, leveraging
More financing opportunities for commercial
retrofits: To address gaps in access to financing, the Small
Business Administration is working to encourage existing lenders
to take advantage of recently increased loan size limits to
promote new energy efficiency retrofit loans for small businesses.
The President's budget will also propose a new pilot program
through the Department of Energy to guarantee loans for energy-efficiency
upgrades at hospitals, schools and other commercial buildings.
"Race to Green" for state and municipal
governments that streamline regulations and attract private
investment for retrofit projects: The President's budget
will propose new competitive grants to states and/or local governments
that streamline standards, encouraging upgrades and attracting
private sector investment.
The Better Buildings Challenge: The President
is challenging CEOs and university presidents to make their
organizations leaders in saving energy, which will save them
money and improve productivity. Partners will commit to a series
of actions to make their facilities more efficient. They will
in turn become eligible for benefits including public recognition,
technical assistance and best-practices sharing through a network
Training the next generation of commercial
building technology workers: Using existing authorities,
the administration is working to implement a number of reforms,
including improving transparency around energy efficiency performance,
launching a Building Construction Technology Extension Partnership
modeled on the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Commerce
and providing more workforce training in areas such as energy
auditing and building operations.
Stay tuned to USGNN.com for more information on the initiative
and its potential impact on the glass industry.