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36 States, Cities, School Districts Join Better Buildings Challenge

Thirty-six new states, local governments and school districts have committed about 300 million square feet in building energy upgrades to President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, intended to make US buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020.

Partners announced yesterday include Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Santa Fe, Omaha, Rochester, Fort Worth, El Paso, Roanoke and Knoxville.

These commitments bring the total number of public and private sector partners to more than 100, and add $300 million in estimated investments to the almost $4 billion in public and private sector financial commitments the White House announced in December 2011. The map above shows the location of state and municipal partners.

Additionally, the White House said that new public tax guidance issued by the Treasury will make it easier for state and local governments to access more than $2 billion in existing low-cost financing to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds.

Other partner cities include Columbia, Missouri; Medford, Massachusetts; North Smithfield, Rhode Island; Huntington, New York; Toledo, Ohio with the Toledo Port Authority; West Palm Beach, Florida, and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Other community and school district partners include Hall County, Georgia; Kitsap County, Washington; Thurston County, Washington; New Castle County, Delaware; Placer County, California; Sonoma County, California; Will County, Illinois; Arvada, Colorado; Beaverton, Oregon; East Hartford, Connecticut; Camas County, Washington School District; District of Columbia Public Schools; Dysart, Arizona Public Schools; Fort Atkinson School District, Jefferson County, Wisconsin; Mesa County Schools, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon Public Schools.

The challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative President Obama launched in 2011 to create jobs and encourage private-sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades.

Earlier this month, Starbucks, Staples and The J.R. Simplot Company joined the challenge, pledging to upgrade more than 50 million square feet of combined commercial building space.

In late May, Pacific Gas and Electric signed on as a utility partner, and committed to providing expanded energy-efficiency programs for its commercial customers, responsible for 30 million square feet of commercial building space.

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