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HOUSTON — Mayor Annise D. Parker today announced the City of Houston’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge (BBC), a nationwide public-private partnership that seeks to improve energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020 in commercial, government and school buildings across the country. The city and its corporate partners are committing a total of 30 million square feet of property for energy efficient upgrades as part of its participation in the BBC.
“I am committed to sustainability,” said Mayor Parker. “It not only helps our environment, it also saves taxpayer dollars. The city and its local corporate partners in the BBC have already taken numerous steps to make buildings and other facilities more energy efficient, and more efficiencies will follow. We are leading by example.”
Through its participation in the Better Buildings Challenge, the City of Houston will work with local partners to implement initiatives that reduce emissions, protect air quality and save taxpayers money. So far, there are seven local participants: the City, CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle, USAA Real Estate, Schneider Electric, HISD, and Transwestern. “We are proud to be part of this very important program,” said Transwestern President and Chief Executive Officer Larry P. Heard. “For us, there’s a real business case for sustainability: Optimized operations yield heightened financial performance, which enables our clients to maximize their returns.”
“As President Obama made clear in this week’s State of the Union address, one of the easiest ways for businesses to save money and improve their competitiveness is to reduce energy waste in their buildings and factories,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the city of Houston is helping to boost manufacturing, create U.S. jobs, reduce pollution, and build an American economy that lasts.” Nationwide, more than 60 companies, cities, universities, hospitals and other partners have committed to upgrading more than 1.6 billion square feet of building space nationwide.
The City of Houston is taking a holistic approach to energy consumption by implementing demand response, retro-commissioning and behavioral change management programs. As of 2011, nearly 80 buildings have been retrofitted, representing over 5.2 million square feet. Currently, Houstonis fifth in the nation in number of LEED certified buildings (163 total) and has eight LEED Platinum office buildings. The Houstonarea ranks seventh on the EPA’s list of cities with the most Energy Star rated buildings (175 total). The City’s goal is to become number one in the nation in Energy Star and LEED certified buildings. In addition to the progress made in LEED certified buildings, the City of Houston’s Green Office Challenge is helping commercial office owners and managers increase their environmental and economic performance in the areas of energy conservation, waste reduction, water efficiency, cleaner transportation choices and property management/tenant engagement.
More efficient commercial and industrial buildings reduces the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, protects the environment, and saves billions of dollars in energy costs that can be spent growing businesses, investing in new technologies, and creating American jobs.