Program Could Save Up to $40 Billion A Year in Energy Costs and Boost Construction Employment
President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton announced a $4 billion effort to improve energy efficiency in federal and private-sector buildings across the country over the next two years.
During a tour and press conference at 815 Connecticut in northwest Washington, D.C., a Transwestern managed property, Obama and Clinton unveiled commitments which are part of the Better Buildings Challenge, targeted at reducing energy use in commercial buildings by 20% by 2020.
The announcement builds on more than a dozen commitments by the private sector announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in June to make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet and to invest $500 million in private financing in energy efficiency projects.
President Obama called the program "a trifecta" supported by government, business and organized labor that could help the private sector invest in growth and hiring by saving up to $40 billion a year on their energy bills. The program, which could create up to 114,000 jobs by one estimate, would boost manufacturing of energy-efficient materials and help the construction industry, hurt by millions of job losses since the housing and commercial real estate
The president directed all federal agencies to fast-track at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two months. Some 60 private companies, hospitals, cities, states, colleges and universities and other organizations have committed another $2 billion in energy efficiency retrofits to a total of 1.6 billion square feet of property.
The energy efficiency program at 815 Connecticut employs around 250 full-time workers and will save the 240,000-square-foot building $200,000 a year on its energy bills. Transwestern and its development partner, DRI, Inc. are working on a renovation and modernization project to replace the exterior façade and major mechanical, ventilation and control systems to reduce utility expenses and improve indoor environmental quality.
To date, the energy efficiency measures that have been completed are saving almost $200,000 per year at the location, or nearly $1 per square foot, the company said.
"For us, there’s a real business case for green -- optimized operations yield heightened financial performance, which enables our clients to maximize their returns," said Transwestern President and CEO Larry P. Heard, who greeted the president and former president prior to their news conference. The company is committing 442 office buildings totaling 78 million square feet of its managed portfolio to the Better Buildings Challenge.