Barak Obama

6 December 2011 – The United States Obama administration has announced a US$4 billion energy upgrade finance commitment program, similar to Australia’s environmental upgrade agreements.

The US program, which will utilise energy performance contracts, is a Clinton Foundation initiative. It will run over the next two years and promises to cost the US taxpayer nothing, a White House statement issued overnight (Tuesday) said. Funding will be paid for in energy cost savings, as in the Australian EUA program.

In Australia, the first contracted EUA was recently signed for a Melbourne building, and the City of Sydney has  released its template agreements in a rollout expected to extend to other NSW councils.

The US program will apply to US federally owned property. It will comprise US$2 billion in a “presidential memorandum” and a US$2 billion in commitment from 60 chief executives, mayors, university presidents and labour leaders to achieve a 20 per cent energy reduction in property by 2020.

“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now,” President Obama said.

“But we can’t wait for Congress to act. So today, I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least US$2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two years – at no up-front cost to the taxpayer. Coupled with today’s extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step towards the competitive, clean energy economy it will take to win the future,” Mr Obama said.

Former US President Bill Clinton said: “Investments in building retrofits and energy efficiency can make a real difference in the American economy, by creating jobs, growing our industries, improving businesses’ bottom lines, reducing our energy bills and consumption, and preserving our planet for future generations. I am proud the Clinton Foundation has been able to help develop and grow President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, and that so many members of the Clinton Global Initiative have joined this Challenge.

“Working together, I am pleased the commitments to the BBC have grown from the initial $500 million and 300 million square feet that we announced in June at CGI America, to the $2 billion investment with over 1 billion square feet of retrofitted space that we are announcing today.”

Energy performance contracts
The Whitehouse statement also said: “In a move the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recognised as critical to job creation, today’s Presidential Memorandum calls for fully implementing existing federal authority to utilise Energy Savings Performance Contracts in order to promote energy efficiency and create new jobs. Under the ESPC program, new energy efficient equipment is installed at Federal facilities at no up-front cost to the government. The cost of the improvements is paid for over time with energy costs saved on utility bills, and the private sector contractors guarantee the energy savings.

Read the White House statement

– By Tina Perinotto

The Fifth Estate – sustainable property news and forum
“We can’t wait for the future