Improved energy efficiency in the nation’s buildings: the Obama administration got the party started with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and has kept it going with the Better Buildings Challenge, an effort designed to bring cities and corporations on board in cutting their energy use by 20 percent by 2020. Now the U.S. Department of Energy has announced that it has awarded nearly $14 million across 22 states and territories in support of state-led energy efficiency projects on this front.
Of those funds, $7.9 million will go to assisting 13 states in developing whole-building retrofit programs across a broad segment of their public building portfolio, while $1 million will go to two states to assist them in generating the policy and program frameworks to encourage energy efficiency investments, as well as to establish (or increase) statewide energy savings goals by 2015. An additional $5 million will assist eight states in developing, improving and implementing programs that can finance energy upgrades to public facilities. (These public facilities include state and municipal buildings, National Guard assets, school districts and water and wastewater treatment facilities.)
An example of the type of efforts that will be supported by this funding: the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and Alaska Department of Housing and Public Facilities will jointly receive $487,409 to help them leverage a $250 million revolving loan fund to finance energy efficient upgrades for public facilities. In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community, Massachusetts School Building Authority and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will jointly receive funding in the amount of $715,000 to facilitate energy efficiency improvements across 11 million square feet of public school space and state-assisted public housing developments by 2020. (The Massachusetts agencies will also use these funds to leverage more than $165 million from utility efficiency funds and low-cost bonds to finance energy savings across this portfolio.)
“Deploying energy efficiency in our buildings, vehicles, and industries creates jobs, grows markets for American-made products, reduces energy bills for families and businesses, and makes the American economy more competitive,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a statement. He goes on to note that this funding for state-led efficiency projects is part of President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” approach to American energy, and part of his department’s broader efforts to spur the development of a sustainable market for energy efficiency that will help to protect the environment while creating jobs.