Green buildings initiative gaining momentum

June 29, 2012

Energy efficient buildings are becoming more of a mainstream concept in the U.S., as leadership from the Obama Administration recently made several announcements regarding significant progress in the sector.

CleanTechnica reported that on June 26, officials from the administration announced that 36 additional states, many local governments and school districts have signed on for the President's "Better Buildings Challenge."

According to the news outlet, there is already more than 300 million square feet of building space associated with this program, and new entrants into the program will benefit from the protection it provides from rising fuel costs. It will also open up the possibility of putting thousands of people to work conducting energy audits and energy efficient upgrades.

This type of move to create clean energy jobs is one of the goals for the Department of Energy's (DOE) innovation hub for energy efficient buildings.

The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) is located in Philadelphia, at the city's historic navy yard, and is comprised of some of the brightest minds in the sector. The effort is looking to promote energy efficient designs and retrofits to help lower consumption levels that commercial structures are responsible for and create clean jobs and opportunities within the industry.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted that the DOE is also moving to help small businesses in the country adopt these building upgrades, as the agency is awarding more than $102 million in grants to firms across the U.S.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing half of all workers in America and creating two out of every three new jobs in the U.S.," Chu noted in a statement. "Bringing these innovative technologies to market is just the latest step in the Energy Department’s efforts to support the critical role that small businesses are playing in creating jobs for American workers and expanding our country’s clean energy economy."

Earth Techling reported that both businesses and municipalities have a significant opportunity to limit their consumption levels, as the rising availability of loans for retrofits and remodeling projects is helping to lower prices in the sector.

According to the news outlet, a number of companies are investing in analytic technologies that examine the energy consumption levels for buildings, as smart grid meters and other devices have created a certain transparency in the market.