February 9 President Obama has announced an initiative to make commercial buildings 20% more energy and resource efficient by 2020 through a combination of enhanced incentives, expanded programs, tax reforms and streamlined regulations.
The plan, announced during the President's visit to Penn State University to tour architectural engineering, mechanical engineering and indoor environment labs, has won broad backing from business and environmental groups
"The President's Better Buildings Initiative will make commercial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade by catalyzing private sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals, and other commercial buildings," according to the White House website.
Achieving a 20% improvement in energy efficiency will in turn save businesses some $40 billion on their energy bills, the White House estimates.
The President also called for, "aggressive reform of existing tax and other incentives for commercial building retrofits and proposing a new competitive grant program," and urged corporate leaders to commit to pushing toward the energy goals.