Landmark Program to Help Cities Reduce Energy Consumption in Existing Buildings

On May 16, former President Bill Clinton announced the creation of a landmark program that brings together four of the world's largest energy service companies (ESCOs), five of the world's largest banks, and 16 of the world's largest cities to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings.

Urban areas are responsible for approximately 75 percent of all energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in cities such as New York and London, this figure is close to 70 percent. The Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, a project of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), will provide both cities and their private building owners with access to the necessary funds to retrofit existing buildings with more energy efficient products, typically leading to energy savings between 20 percent to 50 percent.

"Climate change is a global problem that requires local action," Clinton said. "The businesses, banks and cities partnering with my foundation are addressing the issue of global warming because it's the right thing to do, but also because it's good for their bottom line. They're going to save money, make money, create jobs and have a tremendous collective impact on climate change all at once. I'm proud of them for showing leadership on the critical issue of climate change and I thank them for their commitment to this new initiative."

As part of the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, the participating cities have agreed to develop a program to make their municipal buildings more energy efficient and provide incentives for private building owners to retrofit their buildings with energy saving technologies. The retrofit program will be consistent with, and work within, city procurement and tendering rules. Participation in the program will be open to local banks and companies, which will be invited to contribute to the funding pool and to expand the list of green products used in retrofits. This is the first of many programs that CCI is organizing with partner cities in the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group (formerly known as the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group.

"Mayors are responsible for coming up with pragmatic solutions and implementing them effectively -- and this program will allow us to do that," said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "We've laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce our carbon emissions, 80 percent of which come from buildings, while being economically competitive and continuing to grow. By bringing together cities and partnering with the private sector, President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation are providing the tools to help cities accomplish our goals. I applaud their leadership and am proud to stand with our partners today."

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, head of the C40, said: "The C40 brings together the world's most significant cities to tackle climate change. This first program to come out of our partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative is a considerable breakthrough. This procurement alliance will make it financially feasible for cities to radically cut emissions from buildings."

CCI and its partners also will assist participating cities with their initiation and development of programs to train local workers on the installation and maintenance of energy saving and clean energy products. The U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers have agreed to help coordinate these programs.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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