President Barack Obama announced today he is authorizing a $4 billion undertaking that will put 50,000 Americans to work making both government and private sector buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.
Using the Energy Savings Performance Contracts program, created during the 1990′s by the Clinton administration, President Obama has partnered with former President Bill Clinton for the announcement. Former President Clinton has used the Clinton Foundation to encourage private investments in energy efficiency measures over the years.
The goal is to increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs while stimulating job creation at zero cost to taxpayers. The federal government will be contributing $2 billion towards the initiative, paid for by the realized energy savings resulting from the upgrades. The other $2 billion needed will be paid for by a combination of corporations, labor unions, universities and local governments.
Using 2009 stimulus program funds, Obama’s administration has already spent millions on energy efficiency efforts in the private sector.
But as stimulus funds have been depleted, the White House has turned to the under-utilized Energy Savings Performance Contracts program to continue those efforts. The announcement was described in the Associated Press as “yet another in a string of White House initiatives designed to address the current weak economy without having to seek congressional approval.”
“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution and create good jobs right now,” Obama said in a statement.