On December 2, President Obama announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years. 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. This plan is intended to create "tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector" according to the White House Press Office.
President Obama was joined by President Clinton and 60 organizations to make the announcement that the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge was well underway to achieving its goal of creating jobs in the green building industry. President Clinton's Global Initiative is the breeding ground that brought the BBC public/private partnerships together -- as it did previously for another popular green initiative, Cash for Clunkers. "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," said President Clinton. "I am proud the Clinton Foundation has been able to help develop and grow President Obama's Better Buildings Challenge."
The other half of the $4 billion commitment to energy efficiency and job creation has been picked up by 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders, including 11 Clinton Global Initiative members, committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20 percent by 2020. 1.5 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, and school buildings will be upgraded over that period of time. The estimated energy cost reduction is $40 billion.
CGI members involved with the Better Buildings Challenge include: Alcoa, the AFL-CIO, Serious Energy, Citi, GE, Shorenstein, TIAA-CREF, Wyndham Worldwide and Abundant Power. The AFL-CIO is putting its workers and its money into the game, with a commitment to retrofit its own headquarters. 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. GE's commitment includes a focus on water reuse and reduction. TIAA-CREF, a financial services organization specializing in retirement services to 3.7 million customers in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields, realizes that investing in green jobs can provide a reliable return on investment, making it sustainable for the future of the planet, in addition to the future of the livelihoods the organization is chartered with.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.
To learn more about the Better Buildings Challenge, visit here.
Natalie Pace is the author of You vs. Wall Street and Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is, and the founder and CEO of the Women's Investment Network, LLC. She is a blogger on Huffington Post and a repeat guest on national television and radio shows such as Good Morning America, Fox News, CNBC, ABC-TV, Forbes.com, NPR and more. As a strong believer in giving back, she has been instrumental in raising multi-millions for public schools, financial literacy, the arts and underserved women and girls worldwide. Follow her on Facebook. For more information please visit her Website.