The Better Buildings Challenge, announced by President Barack Obama in February aims to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings across the US by 20 percent, a goal that could help businesses save up to $40 billion a year on energy costs. The challenge this week took on its first 14 partners:
- Best Buy, which aims to improve efficiency at its more than 55 million square feet of retail space;
- Green Sports Alliance, an organization of 25 sports teams in 17 cities representing more than 20 million square feet of sports arenas;
- Lend Lease, which plans to improve energy efficiency in nearly 40,000 homes for military families;
- Transwestern,which has committed to reducing energy consumption in 78 million square feet of managed properties;
- USAA Real Estate Company, which aims to reduce energy use in its 50-million-square-foot property portfolio by 5 percent per year;
- Abundant Power, which has committed to providing more than $50 million in financing for commercial building efficiency projects over the next 18 months;
- Cit, which over the next 18 months plans to support at least $250 million in financial for commercial and other property type energy efficiency projects.
- Green Campus Partners LLC, a portfolio company of Hudson Clean Energy Partners that plans to invest more than $100 million in commercial, industrial, hospital and university energy conservation projects over the next 18 months;
- Metrus Energy, which plans to finance more than $50 million in industrial and commercial building efficiency projects;
- Renewable Funding, which expects to provide more than $50 million in financing for clean-energy and energy efficiency projects over the next 18 months.
- Transcend Equity, which has committed to more than $75 million in financing for energy efficiency projects in commercial real estate, private higher education and healthcare.
- The city of Atlanta, which has started an energy efficiency benchmarking initiative for its 220-block downtown improvement district.
- The city of Los Angeles, which expects to leverage $7.5 million in Recovery Act funding into $30 million for energy upgrades affecting 22 million square feet of downtown buildings;
- The Seattle 2030 District, which aims to transform 23 million feet of downtown buildings into the first large-scale, high-performance building district in the country.