WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to work with state and local governments to deploy smart policies that drive investment and create jobs, the Energy Department today recognized the city of Los Angeles, Calif., for its leadership in the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge – helping the city save on energy costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Los Angeles has pledged to reduce the energy intensity for 30 million square feet of city-owned and private buildings by 20 percent by 2020. These steps support President Obama’s call to partner with states, cities and tribes to move to energy efficiency and cleaner power, as outlined in the State of the Union address yesterday. 

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan joined with Los Angeles Sustainability Chief Matt Petersen today to tour the Los Angeles Central Library, which has reduced its energy costs by 20 percent through the Better Buildings Challenge. 

“Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective options to save businesses, governments and homeowners money while creating jobs and protecting communities nationwide,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan. “Through the Better Buildings Challenge, cities like Los Angeles are committing to real change – breaking through barriers and achieving tremendous energy savings.” 

As part of the Better Buildings Challenge, Los Angeles is working to benchmark 250 of the city’s most energy-intensive facilities and develop a plan to improve building performance by 2020. More than 25 owners of large commercial buildings, including Transwestern, Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, Kilroy Realty, and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, have joined the Challenge and are reporting their results annually to help others save money and energy.

“Los Angeles is one of the most energy efficient and economically competitive big cities in the country,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “In partnership with DOE, through the Better Buildings Challenge, the City, businesses, utilities and the real estate community have come together to save energy and create economic opportunity for residents."

Each year, the 500,000 square foot Los Angeles Central Library uses approximately seven million kilowatt hours – equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about 600 households. Through the Challenge, Los Angeles has retrofitted the library, including replacing an aging roof with a cool roof, updating the HVAC system and replacing old lighting with new, energy efficient bulbs. As a result of these upgrades, the library is on track to save about $175,000 in energy costs per year. 

In 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to catalyze revolutionary change in energy use and achieve record-breaking energy bill savings. More than 120 organizations -- including a diverse set of public and private sector partners from local governments, school districts and universities to commercial real estate, healthcare and manufacturing – are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency. In addition, the Better Buildings Challenge includes a network of Financial and Utility Allies to assist partners in overcoming financial and data access barriers across the marketplace.

Better Buildings Challenge partners are actively deploying energy efficiency projects across their entire building portfolios and updating data on energy use and energy savings, including more than 7,700 facilities to date. Of these, more than 1,300 have reduced energy intensity by 20 percent or more, while another 2,100 have reduced energy intensity by at least 10 percent since their baseline years. Over the first year of the Better Buildings Challenge, these partners have also completed more than 50 showcase projects that highlight innovative, cost-effective energy saving strategies. Better Buildings Challenge Financial Allies have also extended more than $1.1 billion in private financing for energy efficiency improvements.

Find more information about the Better Buildings Challenge participants, including the city of Los Angeles, and their energy efficiency projects at www.energy.gov/betterbuildingschallenge.