Obama and Clinton team up for energy efficient buildings program

December 6, 2011

President Barack Obama announced a partnership between the government and private companies to invest up to $4 billion toward making federal government and commercial office buildings more energy efficient, The Washington Post reported.

According to the newspaper, this move could help to reduce the total energy consumption in the U.S., along with creating "tens of thousands of jobs."

The president made the announcement at Pennsylvania State University (PSU), as he pointed out the plan to help businesses and organizations pay for retrofits and upgrades through incentives, Reuters reported.

"Making our buildings more energy efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution and create jobs right here in the United States of America," Obama told the packed gymnasium at PSU.

The president addressed the 40 percent of total energy consumption that buildings account for in the country, and noted that Americans could save $40 billion a year on the associated costs, according to the news outlet.

The large percentage of total energy consumption that buildings are responsible for has been an issue that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has set aside funding to fix. This money was given in the form of grants to the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), an effort that is spearheaded by PSU.

An announcement was made in August 2010 by the DOE and other agencies that the GPIC would be awarded more than $129 million.

The consortium of organizations that make up the GPIC is led by five co-applicants: PSU, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA, the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center and the Wharton Small Business Development Center.

"The goals of the GPIC are to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions of new and existing buildings, and to stimulate private investment and quality job creation," the GPIC posted as a goal for the initiative.

The GPIC is headquartered at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which will serve as a test bed for regional and national findings concerning building technology. The varied building types that are located at this site will help the effort establish models that will work for an assortment of structures across the country.