The Better Buildings Initiative

Last week, the Obama administration announced an initiative to boost energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The “Better Buildings Initiative” calls to reform tax incentives for commercial building retrofits and create a competitive grant program to further incentivize energy efficiency.

Speaking at Penn State University, Obama said, “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.”

We, of course, couldn’t agree more. We may be biased (because BuildingAdvice finds energy savings opportunities in existing buildings), but focusing on making existing buildings more efficient also just makes sense: When there are already 5 million commercial buildings in the U.S. and most have at least 30% energy savings opportunities possible, why would we (as an industry, a country) attack this first?

In an effort to increase financing opportunities for small businesses looking to improve their energy efficiency, the Small Business Administration is working with lenders to promote energy efficiency retrofit loans. In combination with new tax incentives for building efficiency, increased financing opportunities could lead to an uptick in interest in retrofitting existing buildings.

In addition to cutting energy use 20% by 2020, the new initiatives also aim to reduce the energy bills of building owners by $40 billion per year.

So, what could this mean for you?

If you’re a contractor, financing opportuities for your clients mean a great likelihood that service and projects will go fowrad. Of course, this requires that you actually have energy service offerings.

If you’re a building owner or manager, you will soon be able to find more ways to finance investments you want to make that will lead to lower costs and higher-value buildings.

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