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Building on Efficiency

May 4, 2012 - 3:59pm


Ed. Note: This entry is cross-posted from the White House blog. We're excited about the expansion of the Green Button program, and developers should be sure to check out Apps for Energy, our Green Button app development challenge.

Two administration-led, industry-driven efforts marked milestones today. The first will put Americans to work on more than $2 billion in energy upgrades for federal buildings. The second will offer 30 million households and businesses more control over their energy bills. And together, these efforts will support an economy that’s built to last, one that makes use of every source of American energy – more efficiently.

Better Buildings

In December, as part of his We Can’t Wait initiative, the President challenged federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy-efficiency upgrades over the next two years. Meeting the first of several milestones of the challenge, federal agencies have identified $2.1 billion of projects that will pay for themselves using performance-based contracts.

Of the $2.1 billion in energy upgrade projects identified by agencies, more than $100 million in Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Savings Contracts (UESCs) have been awarded already, and an additional $1.2 billion in projects are in development – demonstrating strong momentum towards meeting the President’s goal.



Agency-Reported Performance Contracting Target (ESPC + UESC)     







Homeland Security




Environmental Protection Agency


General Services Administration


Health and Human Services








National Archives and Records Administration


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Office of Personnel Management




Social Security Administration








Tennessee Valley Authority


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


United States Postal Service


Veterans Affairs







These federal agencies join leading corporations, colleges and universities, hospitals, cities, and states that together have committed nearly $2 billion in private capital investments, and more than 1.6 billion square feet of building and industrial space to upgrade energy performance by at least 20 percent by 2020 through the Better Buildings Challenge.

Green Button

To unlock billions more in opportunities to save energy, we need to help households and businesses understand how they use energy. That is why the administration partnered with the utility industry to make it easier for electricity customers to get secure online access to their own energy data in a consumer- and computer-friendly format, called “Green Button.”   

Today, six new utilities and electricity suppliers committed to provide over 3 million households and businesses unprecedented access to their own energy use data with a simple click of an online “Green Button.” These new commitments bring the total number of U.S. households and businesses with access to their energy data to 30 million. 

That means 30 million households and businesses that can use web and smartphone apps to pick the best rate plan for them; take advantage of customized energy efficiency tips; utilize easy-to-use tools to size and finance rooftop solar panels; and download virtual energy audit software that can cut costs for building owners and help get retrofits started sooner.  


Energy efficiency is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to create jobs, save money, and cut down on harmful pollution. And that is why we continue to look for new ways to build on the progress of and the excitement around efforts like Better Buildings and Green Button. In this pursuit, we take an all-in approach. Whether it’s the historic fuel economy standards that will nearly double the miles you can go on a gallon, or investments that have led to more than a million homes weatherized across the country – we keep building on efficiency, and we keep betting on American workers and American know-how to help create a secure energy future.

Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change