Obama Administration Expands Better Buildings Challenge to Multifamily Housing, Launches New Programs to Boost U.S. Energy Efficiency

Press Release

By:  Shaun Donovan Ernest Moniz
Date: Jan. 3, 2014
Location: Washington, DC

Building on $2 billion in financing commitments from the private sector for energy efficiency updates to commercial buildings under the President's Better Buildings Challenge, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development today expanded the Challenge to multifamily housing such as apartments and condominiums and launched the Better Buildings Accelerators to support state- and local government-led efforts to cut energy waste and eliminate market and technical barriers to greater building efficiency. The Obama Administration also announced it will challenge Federal agencies to further expand their use of performance-based contracts through 2016 to upgrade the energy efficiency of Federal buildings at no cost to taxpayers -- helping the Federal Government save money and further reduce energy use.

"Over the last two years, President Obama's Better Buildings Challenge has helped drive greater energy efficiency further and faster, save families money and give U.S. businesses an edge in the global market," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "By partnering with the multifamily housing industry as well as state and local governments, utilities and manufacturers, we can continue this progress -- cutting carbon pollution, fostering economic growth and building a cleaner, more sustainable energy future."

"The more than 50 multifamily owners from across the nation have committed to the Better Buildings Challenge. These housing leaders understand that it represents an opportunity for them to reduce their long-term energy costs, support innovative technologies, create good jobs, and help shape healthier communities and neighborhoods," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "The expansion of the Better Buildings Challenge to include multifamily housing represents an important step toward achieving the goals laid out in the President's Climate Action Plan."

"Upgrading the energy efficiency of America's buildings is one of the easiest ways to save money, reduce pollution and create jobs," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "Federal agencies have met the President's challenge to save energy and money in Federal buildings by committing to energy efficiency upgrades at no up-front cost to taxpayers. Expanding this challenge will ensure that the Federal Government continues to do its part to save energy, grow our economy, and promote healthy communities."

In February 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to help American commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. More than 120 diverse organizations, representing over 2 billion square feet, are already on track to meet the 2020 goal and cut energy use by an average 2.5 percent annually -- equivalent to about $58 million in energy savings each year. In December 2011, President Obama also challenged Federal agencies -- in support of the Better Buildings Challenge -- to enter into $2 billion worth of performance-based contracts within two years, at no cost to taxpayers. Federal agencies have since committed to a pipeline of about $2.3 billion in projects. Today's announcements build on these achievements and support the Administration's broader efforts to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030.

President Obama pledged to expand the Better Buildings Challenge as part of his June 2013 Climate Action Plan, which laid out a series of steps to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. Industrial and commercial buildings account for about 50 percent of all energy use in the United States. Upgrading the energy efficiency of our homes and other buildings will save energy, save families and businesses money on utility bills and reduce pollution in our communities.

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