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In February, President Obama outlined his plan to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent in the next decade through the Better Buildings Initiative. As part of the initiative, the President started a “Better Buildings Challenge” to encourage private companies, universities, local governments and others to lead in building efficiency.

And today, Secretary Chu announced the first 14 partners to join the Better Buildings Challenge while at the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference in Chicago.

These companies, cities and financial institutions have committed making their facilities more efficient – a move with the added benefit of saving them money on their utility bills each month. The Better Buildings Initiative aims to save companies about $40 billion a year. A recent report also found the initiative could create 114,000 clean energy jobs!

In total, these Better Buildings partners will make more than 300 million square feet of building space more efficient. The Secretary also noted that several financial organizations have shown their support for the initiative by providing more than $500 million to help finance energy efficiency projects.

Among the partners announced today:

  • Portfolio Partners: Lend Lease, a fully integrated property solutions provider, committed to a 20 percent energy-reduction by 2020 through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative portfolio. Representing about 40,000 homes, offices and community centers, it will improve 65.3 million square feet.
  • Financial Allies: Citi agreed to continue offering financial solutions for property energy efficiency projects totaling at least $250 million over the next 18 months. Existing and planned structures target both public and private sector clients and range in size with a minimum $50 million for each transaction.
  • Community Partners: The City of Los Angeles set a minimum goal of 20 percent savings by 2020 through the LA Commercial Building Performance Partnership. The partnership will provide energy audits and creative financing solutions to support commercial property owners in energy upgrades. They expect 22 million square feet of commercial building space to be audited through the program.

The bottom line is simple. Like the Secretary says, saving energy saves money. It’s the right thing to do for our economy, our security and our environment.