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The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation : Obama Administration Announces New Partners Join the Better Buildings Challenge

06/14/2012 | 04:30pm US/Eastern

WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration announced today that six new major U.S. companies are joining President Obama's Better Buildings Challenge, which encourages private sector leaders across the country to commit to reducing the energy use in their facilities by at least 20 percent by 2020.  Starbucks Coffee Company, Staples, and The J.R. Simplot Company will upgrade more than 50 million square feet of combined commercial building space, including 15 manufacturing facilities. Financial allies Samas Capital and Greenwood Energy will also make $200 million in financing available for energy efficiency upgrades through this national leadership initiative. Utility partner Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has also committed to offering expanded energy efficiency programs for its commercial customers, who are responsible for 30 million square feet of commercial building space.

"By joining President Obama's Better Buildings Initiative, these companies are helping to put Americans back to work making our buildings more energy efficient, cutting costs for American companies and American consumers, and providing millions in energy savings every year. This is a win for our economy, our environment, and our energy security," said Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

"Investments in energy efficiency that save millions in energy costs are making the American economy more competitive, protecting our air and water, and creating jobs," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We applaud these new partners in the Better Buildings Challenge for leading by example and showing the savings that energy efficiency makes possible while the U.S. positions itself as a global leader in the clean energy race."

The Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Obama Administration's comprehensive strategy to improve the competitiveness of American industry and business, by helping companies to save money by 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 sharing data and best practices with others around the country.  With the addition of today's 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. For more information, please visit the Better Buildings Challenge website.

The energy to operate the buildings where we work, shop, and study costs the U.S. approximately $200 billion annually. Last year, commercial and industrial buildings consumed more than 40 percent of all the energy used by the U.S. economy.  The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to support building upgrades to make America's buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade, while also reducing energy costs for American businesses and local governments by more than $40 billion and creating jobs for U.S. workers. 

About the partners:

Starbucks Coffee Company

Starbucks joined the Better Buildings Challenge with a commitment to reduce energy consumption in company-owned stores - 14 million square feet - across the United States by at least 25 percent by 2015. Starbucks is committed to reducing the energy and water consumed by its stores and facilities, as the energy used to power the Starbucks' stores, offices, and roasting plants accounts for more than 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions.

Staples

Staples, the world's largest office products company, joined the Challenge with 43 million square feet and a commitment to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent by 2020 and reduce their carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2025.  Staples' commitment builds on its leadership in this space, including receiving the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year award for Energy Management and being recognized for an 11.3 percent portfolio-wide reduction in energy intensity. Staples' energy conservation and green power investments have reduced carbon emissions 66 percent from a 2001 baseline to 2011, despite same period revenue growth of 220 percent.  Staples has identified its Orlando Fulfillment Center as its showcase project. 

The J.R. Simplot Company

The J.R. Simplot Company is one of the largest privately held food and agribusiness companies in the country. Simplot has committed to improving energy efficiency across its 16 U.S. manufacturing plants by 25 percent over 10 years. Four of its facilities have already improved their energy efficiency by 25 percent in the last three years. The company is leading in energy efficiency and conservation by driving waste from processes, training employees in best practices, working with the community, and partnering with suppliers to reduce energy footprints.

Pacific Gas and Electric

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the U.S. Based in San Francisco with about 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more than 30 years, PG&E has built a strong record of working with customers to deliver cost savings and energy savings through energy efficiency. Since 1976, PG&E's programs have avoided the release of more than 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, based on cumulative lifecycle gross energy savings. As a Better Buildings Challenge Utility Ally, PG&E will provide commercial building energy efficiency multi-measure programs that will reach 30 million square feet of the commercial customer class by 2015.

Samas Capital

Samas Capital is a program administrator and capital provider for energy improvement projects via the commercial buildings PACE financing platform.  They partner with local governments to establish a streamlined and inexpensive PACE financings for commercial buildings, which allows them to offer financing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements.  Samas Capital uses the capital markets for funding, which provides the most competitive pricing mechanism for financial products. Samas Capital has committed to executing $150 million worth of energy efficiency projects within the next 18 months.

Greenwood Energy

Greenwood Energy is a private investment fund, and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Libra Group, that recognizes the value inherent in clean, locally produced energy, and its application to the building stock of the nation.  Directly investing in the upgrade of buildings through a variety of new structures to maximize the benefits to the building owner while ensuring a stable return to themselves, Greenwood Energy is breaking outside of the traditional definitions of asset classes.  Greenwood Energy has committed to closing $50 million for projects in the next 18 months.

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