12/06/13 : Kateri Callahan

Obama Administration Continues Leadership on Energy Productivity

President Barack Obama speaking at a White House function.

A big holiday present came early this year for EE advocates, thanks to President Obama – our resident “Energy Efficiency Champion in Chief” -- and his team!  Importantly, the actions and partnerships announced by the Administration are organized around the goal of doubling energy productivity that is articulated in the Alliance’s Energy 2030 recommendations.  

Expanding the Better Buildings Challenge

On Tuesday, I joined Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary Dan Poneman, and other leaders from the administration at an executive roundtable where they announced the expansion of the president’s Better Buildings Challenge, which has already been a huge success:

  • Partners participating in the Challenge have already achieved an average annual savings of $58 million, and have reduced their average energy intensity by 2.5% per year.
  • The federal government is on track to meet its goal of $2 billion in performance-based contracts to improve federal building energy efficiency through the use of energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs), and now plans to expand its use of these innovative financing mechanisms through 2016.

The Challenge is now expanded to include multifamily housing, such as condominiums and apartments. If all multifamily housing buildings participated in the Challenge to increase energy efficiency by 20%, there would be a net savings of nearly $7 billion in energy costs each year.

The Administration also launched several new Better Buildings Accelerator programs that will bring state and local governments, school districts, utilities, and manufacturers together to develop cost-effective and innovative solutions to break down barriers to investing in efficiency.

Launching a Loan Program for Rural Communities

On Wednesday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced creation of a $250 million Energy Efficiency and Loan Conservation Program that will provide rural electric cooperatives and utilities with up to $250 million to lend to businesses and residential customers to fund energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems.

Secretary Vilsack explained, "Energy efficiency retrofitting can shrink home energy use by 40 percent, saving money for consumers and helping rural utilities manage their electric load more efficiently... This program is designed to meet the unique needs of consumers and businesses to encourage energy efficiency retrofitting projects across rural America."

Helping Americans Save Money at the Pump

Finally, earlier this week the DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their annual Fuel Economy Guide to help consumers choose the right fuel efficient vehicle for their needs.

What a week……Happy holidays to us all as we look toward a more energy efficient, and therefore a more productive, 2014!