President Obama Announces Nearly $4 Billion in Building Energy Upgrades

December 7, 2011

Photo of a worker with a hose putting insulation into a wall.

Workers like this one putting insulation into a wall will help transform public and private sector buildings through energy upgrades.
Credit: Dennis Schroeder, NREL

President Obama announced on December 2 nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two 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 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 Chief Executive Officers, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects. They also pledged 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.

The commitments were announced by President Obama and former President Clinton along with representatives from more than 60 organizations as part of DOE's Better Buildings Challenge. The challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched in February by the president. President Clinton is spearheading the effort along with 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 buildings 20% more efficient over the next decade. Such improvements would reduce energy costs for U.S. businesses by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20% of all energy used by the U.S. economy.

Among those pledging to reduce energy consumption were the District of Columbia, which is committed to a multi-pronged action plan to reduce energy consumption in more than 90 million square feet of city- and privately held buildings in the downtown core by at least 20% by 2020. And Prologis, a global leader in industrial real estate, has made it a key priority to work with its customers to reduce energy consumption in 100 million square feet by 20% by 2020. See the White House press release.