Chamber of Commerce backs Obama's $4 billion energy efficient building upgrades

December 14, 2011

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donahue offered his support for the $4 billion in energy efficient building upgrades that President Barack Obama had announced as part of a new energy and stimulus plan.

Donahue noted that the new initiative had "tremendous potential" and gave the plan the backing of his organization, which, according to CNN, usually spars with the Obama administration over economic policy.

The President noted that these investments will help to save billions of dollars in energy costs, promote energy independence and, according to independent projections, create tens of thousands of jobs.

A $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, will be directed to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long-term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, Obama said in his announcement. He noted that the taxpayers would be exempt from the up-front costs and that Americans would benefit from the investment and that the country "can’t wait for Congress to act."

"Coupled with today’s extraordinary private sector commitments of $2 billion to upgrade businesses, factories, and military housing, America is taking another big step towards the competitive, clean energy economy it will take to win the future," said the President.

A total of 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents and labor leaders committed to invest private capital into energy efficiency projects that would help upgrade energy performance in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings, according to the release.

Partnerships between the private sector, energy development companies, universities and the government are helping America create jobs in the energy efficient building sector, as well as helping to reduce emissions.

One of these efforts, a Department of Energy-designated innovation hub initiative, is located at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard. Known as the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), this project is comprised of a consortium of intuitions with a shared history in collaborative regional technology based economic development.

Led by five co-applicants, including the Pennsylvania State University and the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, the GPIC's goals are to improve energy efficiency and lower consumption levels for existing buildings, and to stimulate private investment and quality job creation.