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Starbucks, Staples, Three Others Join Better Buildings Challenge

Starbucks Coffee, Staples, and The J.R. Simplot Company are among five companies that have this week joined the White House’s Better Buildings Challenge.

Starbucks, Staples and Simplot have pledged to upgrade more than 50 million square feet of combined commercial building space, including 15 manufacturing facilities, as they strive to meet the Better Buildings goal of cutting building energy use at least 20 percent by 2020.

Samas Capital and Greenwood Energy have joined the program as “financial allies.” The companies have pledged $200 million in financing, which will be available for energy efficiency upgrades through the program.

Last week, new utility partner Pacific Gas and Electric committed to offering expanded energy-efficiency programs for its commercial customers, who are responsible for 30 million square feet of commercial building space.

Launched in 2011, the Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Obama Administration’s strategy aimed at reducing energy waste in commercial and industrial buildings. Under the challenge, private sector CEOs, university presidents, and state and local leaders commit to taking aggressive steps to reduce the energy used in their facilities, and pledge to share data and best practices with others around the country.

With the addition of this month’s new partners and allies, nearly 70 organizations have now joined the Better Buildings Challenge. Together, these organizations account for more than 1.7 billion square feet of building space, including more than 300 manufacturing plants, and have committed almost $2 billion to support energy efficiency improvements nationwide.

In December, 3M, Alcoa, GE, Kohl’s, Nissan, Supervalu, Walgreens and dozens of other organizations joined President Obama and former president Bill Clinton in announcing almost $4 billion in federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years, as part of the challenge.

The 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital to upgrade energy performance by at least 20 percent by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, college and school buildings. At the same time, Obama issued a presidential memorandum committing the federal government to spend $2 billion on energy upgrades to its own buildings.

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