The U.S. is embarking on a major building energy efficiency initiative.
With $4 billion pledged from both public and private funding sources, some1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital and university buildings across the United States will benefit from energy efficient upgrades over the next two years.
Announced earlier this year, the Better Buildings Challenge is an initiative which aims to increase building efficiency 20% by 2020.
Every year, buildings consume 39% of all energy in the United States and 68% of all electricity.
Energy efficiency retrofits can reduce high levels of energy consumption and translate into significant cost savings over the long run.
Many influential players and institutions have already joined the Better Buildings Challenge, including the Clinton Global Initiative, General Electric, Walgreen’s and the Universities of California, Irvine and Oregon. Entire municipalities such Atlanta, Denver and Sacramento have signed on as well.
“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,” remarked President Obama, who recently signed a Presidential Memorandum committing $2 billion in upgrades to federal buildings by 2014. This $2 billion, the President pointed out, has been matched by private sector partners.