With former President Clinton at his side, President Obama today announced a $4 billion effort to improve the energy efficiency of government and private-sector buildings aimed at boosting the economy and creating jobs.
“Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways for us to create jobs, save money and cut down on harmful pollution,” Obama said of the initiative, which is part of his continuing “We Can’t Wait” executive action campaign. “This is an idea whose time has come.”
“It’s the nearest thing we’ve got to a free lunch in a tough economy,” Clinton remarked after the two presidents toured a downtown D.C. construction site.
The commitment includes $2 billion, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to upgrade federal buildings “using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers,” according to the White House. In addition, the private sector is also making a $2 billion commitment to upgrade the energy performance in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial and municipal property.
The commitments are part of the president’s Better Buildings Initiative launched in February and spearheaded by Clinton and the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.