December 2, 2011
Dec 02

Press Release: President Clinton Joins President Obama to Announce New Progress to the Better Buildings Challenge, Including 11 Commitments Made by Clinton Global Initiative Members

New York, NY
Press Release

Original CGI America Commitment expanded to include a $4 billion investment to be used for energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years

New York, NY — President Clinton joined President Obama today to announce significant new progress to the Better Buildings Challenge and a new $4 billion investment from the public and private sectors dedicated to energy efficient building upgrades over the next two years. Of the $4 billion investment announced, $2 billion is a commitment to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long-term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers.

The Better Buildings Challenge was a commitment made by the Obama Administration and 14 partners at CGI America in June — a meeting devoted to economic recovery and job creation in the United States. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and President Clinton announced the commitment, which would make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet, and to invest $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects.

“Investments in building retrofits and energy efficiency can make a real difference in the American economy, by creating jobs, growing our industries, improving businesses’ bottom lines, reducing our energy bills and consumption, and preserving our planet for future generations,” said President Clinton. “I am proud the Clinton Foundation has been able to help develop and grow President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, and that so many members of the Clinton Global Initiative have joined this Challenge. Working together, I am pleased the commitments to the BBC have grown from the initial $500 million and 300 million square feet that we announced in June at CGI America, to the $2 billion investment with over 1 billion square feet of retrofitted space that we are announcing today.”

Presidents Clinton and Obama also announced today that 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders, including 11 CGI members, committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20 percent by 2020 in 1.5 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, and school buildings.

The Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched in February by President Obama, and is spearheaded by President Clinton — through the William J. Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) — and President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The Initiative works to support job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades, making America’s buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade, and reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion.

President Clinton has long championed energy retrofits to create jobs and protect our environment. As President, he created a multi-year program to capture the economic benefits of energy retrofits in 1993, created a Climate Change Action Plan to stabilize U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 1993, announced steps to decrease energy use in Federal buildings in 1998, and signed an Executive Order on Greening the Government in 1999.

CGI has been an effective forum for mobilizing energy efficiency projects at home and around the world. Since 2005, CGI members have made more than 30 commitments related to building retrofits that are valued at more than $16 billion, and $13.8 billion of that total came in 2011 alone and will be dedicated to programs in the United States. CGI members involved with the Better Buildings Challenge include: Wyndham, Alcoa, the AFL-CIO, Serious Energy, Citi, and Shorenstein, and Abundant Power.

CCI’s Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program was created in 2007 and has projects with more than 400 buildings around the world. In the U.S., this includes public buildings in cities such as Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago; more than 20 schools and universities; and commercial buildings including the iconic Empire State Building. CCI has supported many members of President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, including Green Sports Alliance, Transwestern, USAA Real Estate, the city of Los Angeles, and the Houston School District as well as several financial allies: Citi, Metrus Energy, and Transcend Equity.

To watch the Better Buildings Challenge commitment announcement, made by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at CGI America 2011, please click here:

Better Buildings Challenge commitments by CGI members today include:


The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and its affiliated labor unions are engaged in a major effort to find ways for skilled labor, Taft-Hartley and public employee retirement funds to be appropriately engaged in energy-saving building retrofits and infrastructure improvements across America. In addition to making investment managers aware of the many compelling investment opportunities in building retrofits and infrastructure, the AFL-CIO will undertake an energy-efficiency retrofit of its own headquarters to serve as a signature component of the Better Buildings Challenge. The AFL-CIO will work with existing real estate-focused investment funds to invest $150 million of capital in energy efficient retrofits of commercial, multifamily, institutional and public buildings.


Alcoa has made a commitment of improving energy efficiency by 25 percent across 30 million square feet of industrial plant space by the year 2020. Alcoa’s portfolio for the Challenge consists of 30 plants, which currently consume 42 trillion BTUs of energy. Alcoa will be showcasing a $21M investment in an expansion of its Barberton, Ohio facility. This project involves a new 35,000 square foot building to advance the company’s recycling and casting process by producing new wheels from re-melted and scrap aluminum. This will be the first of its kind in North America and is expected to create 30 full-time jobs and help protect more than 350 current positions.


GE works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. In 2010, GE achieved a 33 percent improvement in its own energy intensity, a 24 percent reduction in its GHG emissions (both from a 2004 baseline) and 22 percent improvement in its water re-use (from a 2006 baseline). In 2010, GE set new, more aggressive targets for 2015: A 50 percent energy intensity improvement, 25 percent GHG emissions reduction, and a 25 percent water reduction, from the same baselines across more than 105 million square feet. GE Capital Americas (GECA) will shape a credit strike zone and profitability model for commercial building energy efficiency projects that will lead to financeable opportunities of $50MM+. GECA will use its best efforts to create financial products to meet market needs through all steps of the supply chain from manufacturers, to dealers to end users. GECA foresees the ability to help financing energy-saving technologies in areas such as lighting and HVAC across multiple markets — including office, retail and manufacturing.

RREEF Real Estate (Deutsche Bank)

As the global real estate investment business of Deutsche Bank’s asset management division, RREEF Real Estate has over $58.5 billion dollars in assets under management around the world as of September 30, 2011. As a partner of the Better Buildings Challenge, RREEF Real Estate is committing to reducing the energy consumption across a portfolio of at least 5 million square feet of US commercial office buildings by 20 percent by 2020.

Serious Energy, Inc.

Serious Energy, Inc. increases the value of buildings with a platform of products and services that combine real-time building analytics and material science innovations. Since 2002, Serious Energy’s solutions have helped make 70,000 buildings — including the Empire State Building and the New York Stock Exchange — more valuable, comfortable, and efficient. Our customers have achieved extraordinary reductions in energy use and drastically improved indoor environments through measures such as super-insulating windows that have directly avoided investments in new heaters, chillers, and other systems. Serious Capital, a division of Serious Energy, brings together proven technology and financing to guarantee savings and better building performance in a way that requires no upfront payment. As Financial Allies of the Better Buildings Challenge, they have committed to executing $100 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades with their clients.

Shorenstein Properties LLC

Shorenstein Properties, LLC, one of the oldest and most successful private real estate investment companies active throughout the United States in the acquisition, development, ownership and management of office and mixed-use properties. For the past 2 years, thru energy efficiency strategies identified and implemented to date, Shorenstein has been able to achieve a 5 percent reduction in energy consumption as well as a cost savings of $1.7 million to date. Shorenstein is now coordinating a national tenant tour, the Flip the Switch Campaign, to educate its tenants about the importance of energy conservation and to provide them with actions they can take to be more energy-efficient. Shorenstein will continue its commitment to energy efficiency by targeting a 20 percent consumption by 2020 over a baseline of 2008 in over 12 million square feet, as part of its commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge.


TIAA-CREF is a financial services organization specializing in retirement services to 3.7 million customers in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. As a leader in the efficiency field, TIAA-CREF has committed to a Better Buildings Challenge goal of reducing energy consumption in 40 million square feet by 20 percent by 2020. Participation in the Better Building’s Challenge is providing a forum for TIAA-CREF to share their successes for others to learn from.

Wyndham Worldwide

Wyndham Worldwide is one of the world’s largest hospitality companies across six continents, with approximately 7,300 franchised hotels worldwide, 99,000 vacation properties, and more than 160 vacation ownership resorts. Wyndham is implementing a plan for franchise properties, to adopt energy efficient measures, including a Better Building Challenge commitment of reducing 20 percent of their energy consumption by 2020, over 10 million square feet of their operationally controlled facilities.

Better Buildings Challenge commitments by CGI members in June at CGI America include:

Abundant Power

Abundant Power is a financial services firm specializing in designing, administering, underwriting, and structuring clean energy financing programs and products. Abundant Power expects to originate and finance more than $100 million of commercial building energy efficiency projects over the next 18 months. Abundant Power is partnering with states and municipalities, utilities, and industry partners to introduce and scale its services; aggressively market and source projects; raise debt and equity funds to provide structured financial products; and evaluate and underwrite projects and programs identified by Better Buildings Challenge partners. Since the first of June of this year, approved and financed projects for the Alabama Saves program, administered by Abundant Power, are:

  • Total projects funded/completed: 3 projects: $3,066,000
  • Total projects approved/in process: 2 projects: ~$1,900,000
  • Total projects under review /application submitted: 3 projects: ~$1,500,000
  • Total other pipelines projects identified: 20 projects: ~$19,000,000

Best Buy

Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with over $50 billion in annual revenue, leasing or owning more than 55 million square feet of retail space in the U.S. alone. Best Buy is a leader in energy efficiency and sustainability, implementing increased efficiency operations, and instituting a recycling program, across its stores. Best Buy has committed to reduce its energy consumption in 55 million square feet of retail space 20 percent by 2020 in North America. As a first step, Best Buy has been moving forward to implement an Enterprise Energy Management Solution to centralize the tracking and management of energy consumption throughout all of its stores. The system will include both an upgrade and centralization of technology as well as support infrastructure to manage energy and will also tie in with the service management of store infrastructure. Best Buy will be implementing a number of energy savings techniques using the new system, including eliminating overcooling of space in various zones in stores, correcting electrical phase imbalances and identifying and reducing high energy consumption during non-business hours.


Citi, a leading global financial services company with approximately 200 million consumer accounts in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions, is committed to continue developing and offering scalable financial solutions for aggregations of energy efficiency projects. Closed transactions include the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, a $70.2 million bond offering projected to create over 1,000 jobs and save State Agencies more than $26 million. Existing projects and projects under development target public and private sector clients, employ a number of financing mechanisms, partners and clients, and are sized starting at a minimum of $25 million for each transaction. As a Better Buildings Challenge Financial Ally, Citi will pursue at least $500 million in financing.

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