Obama Administration Announces 14 Initial Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge
July 1, 2011

In February President Obama announced the development of the Better Buildings Initiative, a plan designed to catalyze private sector investment in commercial building upgrades and make America's commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade. The program could also mean new jobs for the construction industry and bring more energy-efficient materials, such as glass and windows, into these building upgrades. And As part of that program, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced yesterday the 14 initial partners committing to the Better Buildings Challenge. This include: Best Buy, Green Sports Alliance, Lend Lease, Transwestern, USAA Real Estate Company, Abundant Power, Citi, Green Campus Partners LLC, Metrus Energy, Renewable Funding, Transcend Equity, City of Atlanta, City of Los Angeles and the Seattle 2030 District.

As part of the President's vision for winning the future by investing in innovative clean energy technologies, the initial partners will work with the Department of Energy (DOE) to further develop the details of the challenge in advance of another round of partnership announcements in the fall.

According to Laura Tyson, with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the project will help get construction workers and contractors back to work and will increase the production of energy efficient products manufactured in the United States. It will also help develop new technologies and products that can aid in achieving the program’s goal. She estimates direct-effect job creation will be around 114,000.

“The first round of partners today committing to the challenge are taking a very important first step in helping support job creation and making moves for energy efficiency and competiveness,” said Tyson.

Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive, Council on Environmental Quality, talked about some of the partners. She said the cities and companies are committed to making more than 300 million square feet of building space more energy efficient.

One commitment, she pointed out was from Lend Lease to retrofit 40,000 homes for military families. “Lend Lease is committed to a 20-percent energy reduction by 2020 with its military housing portfolio,” she said, noting that it includes 40,000 homes, 19,000 of which would be new ones.

Likewise, Transwestern will update the energy efficiency of 78 million square feet of commercial real estate.

“This includes 442 office buildings,” said Moore, adding that the company also committed to an energy reduction of more than 20 percent by 2020.

In addition, USAA Real Estate committed a portfolio of almost 50 million square feet, including office buildings, mixed use projects and more.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.