Delaware Delegation Congratulates Delaware State University on National Commitment to Energy Efficiency

Better Buildings Initiative Partner Sets Goal to Reduce Energy Usage 25% by 2015; National Program Will Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs and Save Billions of Dollars

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) congratulated Delaware State University on its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and saving money through President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge – a program that invests in federal and private sector energy upgrades over the next two years. The Better Buildings Challenge, part of the Better Buildings Initiative, will help the government, as well as public and private entities, save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector. Delaware State University is one of 60 university, corporate, community and industrial partners in the Better Buildings Initiative.

Delaware State University (DSU) has set a goal to reduce energy consumption in almost 2 million square feet of building space 25 percent by 2015. DSU will implement measures to increase energy efficiency and upgrade important facility systems using an innovative option for financing capital improvements with energy savings.

“The federal government is the nation’s largest single consumer of energy, spending nearly $25 billion annually on fuel and electricity,” said Sen. Carper. “Given the mind-boggling budget deficits we face, this is an opportunity for real savings. I am delighted that Delaware State University is leading the way in the First State – and the nation – to increase its energy efficiency and save money. This Presidential initiative will spark investment in energy-efficient building upgrades, saving money for taxpayers, but also helping the environment and creating good-paying jobs here at home. Programs like the Better Buildings Initiative, coupled with legislation like my bill, the Reducing Federal Energy Dollars Act, take crucial steps to help us start achieving better results for every energy dollar we spend. We have a responsibility to encourage innovation and to make sure the federal government is not only keeping up with developments in energy efficiency, but leading the way. This initiative and environmental stewards like Delaware State University are doing just that.”

“Improving our energy efficiency is one of the smartest things we can do to cut costs and build a healthier, cleaner, and stronger economy,” said Sen. Coons. “An America that uses less energy is an America that takes less from the earth, is less reliant on other nations for fuel, and is an America where fewer people will have to make the choice between feeding their families and keeping warm in difficult winters. President Obama is taking a bold step today with this ambitious program, and while I wish my colleagues in Congress were doing more to lead on energy efficiency, I’m glad the President has launched this initiative. I congratulate DSU on setting its own ambitious energy-conservation goal, and look forward to seeing these innovative steps turn into real savings.”

“As a nation, we need to make greater strides towards energy efficiency as a way to create jobs for American workers and for the protection of the environment,” said Rep. Carney. “President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative has brought the federal government together with major corporations, non-profits, and higher education institutions to make significant progress on developing a clean energy economy in the United States. I’m proud that Delaware State University has accepted the challenge of reducing their energy consumption by 25% by 2015. I’m confident that their work will be a tremendous example throughout the state of the positive impact that improvements in energy efficiency can have on the local economy and the environment.”

The $4 billion investment announced today includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers. In a move the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recognized as critical to job creation, today’s Presidential Memorandum calls for fully implementing existing federal authority to utilize Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) in order to promote energy efficiency and create new jobs. Under the ESPC program, new energy efficient equipment is installed at federal facilities at no up-front cost to the government. The cost of the improvements is paid for over time with energy costs saved on utility bills, and the private sector contractors guarantee the energy savings. In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders today committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings.

The Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched in February, led by President Obama, former President Clinton and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to support job creation by encouraging private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades to make America’s buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade, reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion.