NEW YORK - Sixteen of the world's largest cities - including Chicago, Houston, and New York - have joined in a global effort to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings. The Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, a project of former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), will draw on $5 billion in financing to be provided in equal amounts by five banks: ABN AMRO, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS. The banks will finance cities and private building owners to undertake energy efficiency retrofits.

Four companies - Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Siemens, and Trane - will conduct energy audits, perform the building retrofits, and guarantee the energy savings of the retrofit projects. Design guidance will be provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the U.S. Green Building Council.

The municipal and private building owners will then pay off the loans, including interest, using the money saved by the energy efficiency retrofits. As a result, the projects create no net costs for the building owners while reducing their energy use by an estimated 20 to 50 percent. According to the Clinton Foundation, the available funding should double the global market for energy efficiency retrofits in buildings. The Clinton Foundation is also working with Microsoft Corp. to develop online tools to help cities monitor their greenhouse gas emissions.

Publication date:05/28/2007