Secretary of Energy Steven Chu recently announced the first 14 partners to commit to the Better Business Challenge, part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched by the Obama Administration in February. The Initiative encourages private investment in energy efficiency upgrades to commercial buildings intended to make them 20 percent more efficient over the next decade.
The Better Business Challenge seeks to increase the global competitiveness of American businesses by helping them improve energy efficiency on a large scale, reduce energy waste, save money and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, Chu said in a statement.
The Challenge also aims to help the Obama Administrations goal of helping U.S. businesses save $40 billion a year in energy costs. The energy savings are presumed to help companies grow, invest in new technologies and create jobs.
The initial 14 partners of the Better Buildings Challenge include retail giant Best Buy, which has 55 million square feet of retail space, and commercial real estate titan Transwestern, with 78 million square feet across 442 office buildings. Financing for energy efficiency upgrades will also be provided by some of the initial 14 partners, including at least $250 million over the next 18 months from Citi and at least $100 million over the next 18 months from Green Campus Partners LLC.
In all, the initial 14 partners of the Better Business Challenge will commit more than $500 million in financing to improve the energy efficiency of more than 300 million square feet of commercial space.
Obama Administration Announces 14 Initial Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge, U.S. Department of Energy press release, June 30, 2011.