One Way to Save Our Economic Future: Improve Commercial Building Efficiency

Courtesy of NRDC

At Penn State, President Obama announced his Better Building Initiative, which sets the goal of improving efficiency in commercial buildings 20 percent by 2020.

Commercial buildings represent a large opportunity to help rebuild the economy while benefiting the environment. Commercial buildings account for 20 percent of US energy use, while unemployment in the construction sector is at a staggering 20 percent. Promoting efficiency in commercial buildings will increase employment in the construction sector, while cutting businesses’ energy bills, allowing them to hire more workers. Lower energy bills also mean less air pollution that harms human health and the environment.

Yes, this announcement is welcome news.  Many building owners want to invest in improving the energy efficiency of their buildings, reducing monthly energy bills and increasing the value of the building.  But building owners have been slow to make these invesments, held back by many market barriers and uncertainty in the market today.  There are wide-spread benefits that result from this private investment, and it makes a ton of sense for government to take the lead to reduce the barriers holding back this investment.

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