USGBC and Clinton Climate Initiative Increase Focus on Retrofitting

In his initial days as U.S. president, Barrack Obama has effectively blended the issues of global warming, economic recession and alternative energies into one subject. But it is the name of one past president that continues to pervade the topic of climate change. In August 2006, president Clinton launched the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) in an effort to make a difference in the fight against climate change. The initiative was designed to initiate change through practical and measurable methods, including improvements in building envelope efficiency. In its first phase, CCI served as the exclusive implementing partner of the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, an association of large cities around the world that have pledged to accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In May 2007, CCI launched its Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program adding real estate firms, energy service companies and financial institutions to the list. San Diego-based Bekaert Specialty Films was the first window film company to join the initiative, followed closely by St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M. CCI officials say there will be an increased focus on retrofit solutions following an expansion of its relationship with the U.S. Green Building Council.

CCI's initial focus was centered on driving efficiency in existing buildings, including homes, schools, offices and other buildings, which account for 38 percent of CO2 emissions globally, according to the U.N. Environment Program. Officials for McKinsey and Company, a global consulting firm, estimate that in the U.S. alone, the "low hanging fruit" in building efficiency could save the economy more than $160 billion by 2030. And CCI officials say a new program development is underway to help redefine new building developments.

"Retrofitting buildings represents an immediate and measurable opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve our economy; they are a priority for my Climate Initiative which is encouraging retrofit projects around the world," says former president Bill Clinton. "I'm proud to strengthen my Foundation's collaboration with the USGBC to accelerate this important work."

"Two years ago, the Clinton Climate Initiative helped put the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions by improving the performance of our existing building stock squarely on the national agenda," says USGBC chief executive officer, president and founding chairman Rick Fedrizzi. "USGBC is proud to partner with CCI to accelerate and expand the effort at this critical moment. Green building creates green jobs that save energy and money - and green building will help save our climate."

To date, CCI's Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program has helped initiate more than 250 retrofit projects encompassing over 500 million square feet of real estate in more than 30 cities around the world. These include retrofit projects across the municipal, private, commercial, education, and housing sectors. Officials for USGBC say the group's LEED for Existing Buildings/Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB/OM) certification system has resulted in energy performance improvements ranging from 30- to 60-percent in certified buildings. More than 2300 projects in 12 countries have been registered or certified.

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