Washington, D.C. — Building on President Obama’s call in the State of the Union address earlier this week for a new era for American energy, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu joined with Houston Mayor Annise Parker today to announce that Houston, Texas is joining the Better Buildings Challenge.  Houston is the latest community to join the Challenge, a public-private partnership that seeks to improve energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020 in commercial, government, and school buildings across the country. As the newest Challenge community partner, the City of Houston is committing to improve energy efficiency across 30 million square feet of public and private buildings throughout the city.

“As President Obama made clear in this week’s State of the Union address, one of the easiest ways for businesses to save money and improve their competitiveness is to reduce energy waste in their buildings and factories,” said Secretary Chu.  “Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the city of Houston is helping to boost manufacturing, create U.S. jobs, reduce pollution, and build an American economy that lasts.”

“I am committed to sustainability,” said Mayor Parker.  “It’s not only helps our environment, it also saves taxpayer dollars.  The city and its local corporate partners in the BBC have already taken numerous steps to make buildings and other facilities more energy efficient and more efficiencies will follow.  We are leading by example.”

Through its participation in the Better Buildings Challenge, the City of Houston works with local partners to implement initiatives that reduce emissions, protect air quality and save taxpayers money. The city becomes the most recent community partner to join the Challenge since President Obama announced last month nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector funding for building energy upgrades over the next two years. To date, more than 60 companies, cities, universities, hospitals, and other partners throughout the U.S. have committed to upgrading more than 1.6 billion square feet of building space nationwide.

About the Better Buildings Challenge

The Better Buildings Challenge is a national leadership initiative that calls on corporate chief executive officers, university presidents and state and local leaders to make a significant commitment to energy efficiency. These leaders are recognized for the innovative work they are doing, the results they are achieving and the leadership role they provide for other organizations to follow. The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to create jobs, eliminate waste, and save money by making the nation’s commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020. The Challenge is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

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