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Johnson Controls, Macy's and Sprint Accept DOE's Better Buildings Challenge
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February 22, 2013

Johnson Controls, Macy's and Sprint Accept DOE's Better Buildings Challenge

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

Johnson Controls, Macy’s and Sprint (News - Alert) are joining the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge with a pledge to upgrade more than 200 million square feet of building space cumulatively -- and thereby, to cut energy use -- by at least 20 percent by 2020. These steps support the President’s goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half over the next two decades, announced in his State of the Union Address on February 12.

Launched by President Barack Obama in 2011, the Better Buildings Challenge brings together corporations, universities, municipalities and other national leaders to make significant commitments to increase energy efficiency, reduce waste and save on energy costs.

More than 110 organizations—representing more than two billion square feet of commercial and industrial space and nearly $2 billion in energy efficiency financing—already have partnered with the program. A partial list includes Ascension Health, Best Buy (News - Alert), HEI Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jones Lang LaSalle, Kohl’s Department Stores, The PNC Financial Services Group, Staples, Starbucks, TIAA-CREF, Transwestern, USAA Real Estate Company, Walgreens and Wyndham Worldwide.

“Investments in energy efficiency that save millions in energy costs are making the American economy more competitive, protecting our air and water, and creating jobs,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “We applaud these new partners for leading by example and showing the savings that energy efficiency makes possible while positioning America as a global leader in the clean energy race.”

Each year, the U.S. spends about $200 billion just to power commercial buildings and another $200 billion to power industrial facilities. President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to help America’s commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20 percent more efficient over the next decade. In addition, to meeting their own energy efficiency goals, the three new partners also will share facility-level energy use data and successful strategies with other Better Buildings Challenge participants; as well as publicly,  helping to lead a clean, sustainable energy economy.

Above, one of the Challenge’s Showcase Projects

About the new Better Buildings Challenge partners announced today:

Johnson Controls: Based in Milwaukee, Johnson Controls, which already is in the business of optimizing structural energy and operational efficiencies, reduced the energy use at its U.S. manufacturing plants by 25 percent between 2002 and 2008.  Since 2000, Johnson Controls has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 18 million metric tons and generated savings of $7 billion for its building efficiency customers."Johnson Controls commits to an additional 25 percent energy intensity reduction in its 71 U.S. manufacturing plants covering 16 million square feet through 2019,” said Clay Nesler, vice president of Global Energy and Sustainability. "Our energy management practices have had a positive impact on organizational performance and profitability, as well as on the environment."

Macy’s: Headquartered in Cincinnati, the consumer retail chain has pledged to reduce energy usage within its 179 million square feet of its commercial real estate. Macy’s has engaged in aggressive energy reduction measures through the development and use of its Energy Information System, which monitors, analyzes and targets key energy opportunities. Coupled with this tool, Macy’s is working with the company’s field personnel to identify opportunities for reducing energy and eliminating waste. Macy’s also is a leader in LED (light-emitting diode) technology for accent lighting— replacing over one million lamps over the last three years and reducing the energy used for this lighting by more than 70 percent.

"Macy's is pleased to enter into a partnership with the Better Buildings Challenge, helping lead the nation to greater energy efficiency, economic growth and a cleaner environment," said Bill Lyon, vice president of Energy Management.  "Our commitment will lead to an energy savings of 20 percent by 2020.  We are looking forward to sharing our progress in creating greater efficiency and savings."

Sprint: Based in Overland Park, Kansas, the provider of voice, data and Internet services has extensive operations nationwide and in three of the U.S. territories — the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. With approximately 40,000 employees and a network that serves more than 55 million customers, Sprint's operations are significant.  Sprint is committing to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent by 2017. Its 200-acre headquarters campus is one of the most environmentally responsible campuses in the country. Sprint’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy relies primarily on reducing energy consumption but also on increasing use of renewable energy. Sprint has secured 5 percent of its total energy use from renewable energy – including wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen fuel cells – and consistently ranks within the top 15 on the EPA Green Power Partner list for Fortune 500 companies.

"Sprint embraces the approach DOE is taking to accelerate energy efficiency best practices across a wide variety of building types," said Ralph Reid, vice president of Corporate Responsibility.  “As the first telecommunications company to join the program, Sprint looks forward to learning from the other program participants and contributing its own best practices. As part of our commitment to the program, Sprint is increasing its absolute electric energy reduction goal from 15 percent to 20 percent by 2017."

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