by Sarah Lane July 8, 2012 5 a.m.
The Better Buildings Challenge is a Department of Energy (DOE) national leadership program calling on corporate chief executives, university presidents, and state, local, and school district leaders to reduce their energy use by 20 percent by 2020. Kitsap was the first Washington State county to join the initiative.
In doing so, it raised the bar on the national challenge, pledging to reduce energy use in more than 860,000 square feet of public facilities by 30 percent. In addition Kitsap government will work with organizations throughout the county to reduce energy use.
Seattle’s goal is 20 percent reduction in 23,000,000 square feet by 2030. Thurston County is aiming for 20 percent reduction in 680,000 square feet by 2020. Corporate partners of the project include Best Buy, TIAA-CREF, USAA Real Estate, Walgreens, 3M, GE, and Staples.
Kitsap is working to develop a showcase energy retrofit project in the hopes that such transparency will spur on communities to follow suit. And county leaders plan to make these changes at low cost. Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said, “Our efforts will continue to focus on low- and no-cost improvements to operations and maintenance procedures and employee behavior change to most cost-effectively drive sustained energy use reductions.”
The Better Buildings Challenge focuses on businesses and government buildings. According to the Department of Energy, commercial buildings and industrial plants in the United States account for 50 percent of the nation’s primary energy use, cost about $400 billion to operate, and produce 40 percent of the country’s CO2 emissions. The DOE estimates that many buildings can reduce energy use by 20 percent.
Featured photo shows former President Clinton and President Obama announcing the Better Buildings Challenge. Courtesy of Better Buildings Challenge.