As interest in U.S. energy policy has moved beyond climate change to include national security and job creation, the conversation surrounding building energy retrofits has attracted interest from the highest levels of the Obama Administration.
At a White House forum on clean energy and sustainable buildings last week, Herman Bulls, CEO of Public Institutions at Jones Lang LaSalle, explained how federal policy can continue to stimulate the retrofit market.
Attendees included Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, as well as GSA’s Commissioner of Public Buildings, the newly-created Chief Greening Officer and Director of the Office of High-Performance Federal Green Buildings.
Along with co-panelists that included President and CEO of Hannon Armstrong and the Executive Vice President of Hines (another founding member of the Greenprint Foundation), Herman discussed ways the Federal government could help jump-start the financing of public and private commercial energy retrofit projects. The event provided a unique opportunity for leading companies such as Jones Lang LaSalle to share innovative approaches and best practices.
Herman pointed to greater transparency through mandatory reporting and disclosure requirements; common regulatory standards for “green” buildings; and targeted economic incentives such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs already implemented in 22 states and the District of Columbia, as ways that federal policy can drive the private sector to consider retrofits and provide some of the tools to do so.
As a member of the planning committee for GovEnergy, a group that leverages private-sector energy expertise when training federal employees, my attendance at Herman‘s White House appearance provided an opportunity to strengthen the integration between policy and practice. It was the second time I was able to visit the White House with Herman; in July 2009, I accompanied him on an exclusive meeting with Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama, to discuss the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
Watch the video from The White House Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal Leadership and Sustainable Building.