By Jodi Summers

The energy to operate commercial buildings costs about $200 billion every year. And on average, 30% of this energy is wasted. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge aims to engage building operators nationwide in improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. The brilliant part of this initiative, announced by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, is that it was been achieved through strategic partnership and does not require the approval of the Republican Congress.

“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now,” observed President Obama. “But we can’t wait for Congress to act.  So today, I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next 2 years – at no up-front cost to the taxpayer.  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.”

The White House says that more than 60 organizations have secured:

1.6 Billion Square Feet Committed

$2 Billion in Financing through Allies

+300 Manufacturing Facilities

The $4 billion challenge is the latest move the Obama administration has made as part of its “We Can’t Wait” campaign to bypass a deadlocked Congress and spur job creation, even as the President pushes lawmakers to pass a $447 billion jobs bill.

We’re proud to say that Los Angeles is one of an elite group of communities, companies, universities and organizations working to improve their bottom line by saving energy.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City of Los Angeles have launched the Los Angeles Commercial Building Performance Partnership to support development and financing of comprehensive energy efficiency and water efficiency upgrades in commercial buildings.

Los Angeles expects approximately 30 million square feet of commercial property to be audited, using $3.2 million in Recovery Act funds with the goal of driving at least $25 million in total investment during their partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge.

The initiative is part of the California Energy Commission’s Energy Upgrade California program, a statewide effort to roll out a network of utility-incentive packages, pilot innovative financing approaches.

Since June 2011 LA County has imitated energy audits for more than 25 million square feet of commercial space — from small neighborhood retailers to downtown skyscrapers. Additionally we are developing a directory of capital providers to facilitate access to project funding options.

“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,” concludes President Clinton. “I am proud 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.”


Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. The challenge is that companies must work with both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on regulatory issues and with the DOE on the energy initiatives and often these two entities are on different sides of the conversation. The government needs to understand the impact on business to balance compliance to regulatory issues while improving energy especially for the manufacturing sector and this meeting was a good and productive first step.

  2. The Better Buildings Case Competition — a competition that challenges collegiate students to develop and present real-world solutions to boost the energy efficiency of buildings across the country . An MIT student team picked up awards for “Most Innovative” and “Best Proposal” for their work on two of the four case studies.

    As part of the competition, students analyzed four case studies — using real-world scenarios and data provided by partners in the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge — to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Chu announced the winners for each case study, based on two categories — most innovative solution and best proposal.

    MIT won the following awards:

    Cassidy Turley case study
    Best Proposal award
    This team proposed four steps to improve the energy efficiency of a multitenant office building, including engaging and negotiating with tenants in the realistic, multiphase project, implementing energy efficiency upgrades, aligning new tenants as leases turn over, and launching a “Go for Green” program. Their solution demonstrated understanding of commercial real estate realities and the motivations of an owner and tenants.

    District of Columbia case study
    Most Innovative award
    This team demonstrated a clear understanding of energy efficiency issues and proposed integrated approaches that would drive energy and water efficiency. They proposed a district energy system based on a build-own-and-operate service model to provide energy, manage the distribution system and interface with customers. The proposed financing for the system would come from the provider or through a lender, instead of by issuing revenue bonds.

  3. Called “Green Button,” the online tool by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric allows consumers and businesses to see how much electricity they’re using and to download the data so that they can figure out how to use less.

    The utilities say they’re hoping that customers will be able to better respond to how their consumption changes over the day, week and seasons using the data along with smart meters, which transmit energy usage information in real time. The idea is to spur entrepreneurs to create programs and devices that will incorporate customers’ usage data to help them conserve both energy and cash.

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About Jodi Summers

With more than $100,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group know finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. We are accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California.

A New York native, Jodi grew up working in the family business – marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.


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