WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the 14 initial partners committing to the Better Buildings Challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative that President Obama launched in February to catalyze private sector investment in commercial building upgrades and make America’s commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade. The initial partners in the Challenge include private sector companies, financial institutions, and local governments.

These initial partners will work with DOE in the coming months to further develop the details of the program in advance of another round of partnership announcements in the fall. Commitments announced to date include a pledge by Lend Lease to retrofit 40,000 homes for military families and by Transwestern to improve energy efficiency in 78 million square feet of commercial real estate.

Companies and communities announcing commitments will provide data on their energy savings and share their efficiency strategies, which will serve as models for others. Additionally, a number of financial organizations, including Citi, have agreed to support the challenge by helping to provide financing for energy efficiency projects.

The Better Buildings Challenge aims to support the president’s goal of helping businesses save nearly $40 billion annually in energy costs, enabling them to grow, invest in new technology, and create jobs.

The initial Better Buildings Challenge partners are:

• Best Buy: More than 55 million square feet of retail space.

• Green Sports Alliance: 25 sports teams in 17 cities representing more than 20 million square feet of sports arenas.

• Lend Lease: 40,000 high performance, efficient homes for military families.

• Transwestern: Reducing energy consumption in 78 million square feet of managed properties.

• USAA Real Estate Company: Approximately 50 million square feet of space.

• Abundant Power: $50+ million in financing over the next 18 months.

• Citi: $250+ million in financing over the next 18 months.

• Green Campus Partners LLC: $100+ million in financing over the next 18 months.

• Metrus Energy: $50+ million in financing over the next 18 months.

• Renewable Funding: $50+ million in financing over the next 18 months.

• Transcend Equity: $75+ million in financing over the next 18 months.

• City of Atlanta: 220 downtown city blocks targeted with Atlanta’s City Hall and Civic Center leading the way.

• City of Los Angeles: $7.5 million in Recovery Act funding will leverage $30 million in total investment to improve 22 million square feet of downtown buildings.

• Seattle 2030 District: 23 million square feet of downtown buildings that will meet or exceed Better Building Challenge goals.

Publication date:07/18/2011