President of Energy and Sustainability Services
U.S. mayors from Michael Bloomberg to Gavin Newsom to Richard Daley have focused strongly on ways to improve energy efficiency and promote sustainability in their cities. It’s not surprising that real estate plays a big role in those initiatives, given that buildings can be responsible for up to 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in some cities.
So when the U.S. Council of Mayors issued its energy and climate agenda at its annual conference last week, real estate issues were naturally a part of the mix. Some items on their wish list:
Allocation of federal funds from carbon allowances and auction proceeds to cities to fully fund the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program
Support for adoption and enforcement of local building efficiency standards and codes
National targets for building energy reduction, and funding to help cities meet the targets
Elimination of federal barriers to local efficiency financing programs such as the popular PACE program
Federal help for cities to retool vacant industrial sites as clean-tech businesses
Strong national energy efficiency and renewable energy standards
Getting federal funding for local initiatives is easier said than done. But if the U.S. government is serious about reducing greenhouse gases, achieving energy independence and improving the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, cities—and particularly commercial buildings—have to be a major part of the plan.
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