As part of the Better Buildings Initiative, the Obama Administration announced a Presidential Memorandum on December 2, 2011 directing “nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years.” The Administration’s announcement states that these “investments will 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.”

$2 billion comes from private and non-Federal commitments, from companies such as 3M, GE and Alcoa, and state and local governments such as the State of Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and Sacramento, California. The Federal government’s $2 billion share is in the form of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs), and so presents no upfront costs to taxpayers. Private contractors will upgrade federal buildings, guaranteeing energy savings, and will be repaid as the savings compile.