Launched in February 2011, President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative aims to make our nation’s buildings more energy efficient by 2020. Initially announced with nearly $4 billion in financial commitments and 1.6 billion square feet of commercial and industrial space available for upgrades, additional partners continue to pour into the Department of Energy initiative.

On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced that an additional 36 new group members operating more than 300 million square feet worth of building space have committed to energy efficiency upgrades at their facilities, bringing the total number of public and private partners to over 100 while adding another $300 million in private sector investments.

Made up of corporate, public, and educational institutions, the Better Buildings Initiative now has 2 billion square feet and well over $4 billion in financial commitments. Over $2 billion of the monies is available to initiative partners through Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds as tax incentives and loans. According to the IRS, the bonds are issued only when “100 percent of the available project proceeds of such issue are to be used for one or more qualified conservation purposes,” which hopefully guarantees the money will be used properly once requested for and approved.

In addition to the stated goal of making buildings at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020, the Better Buildings Initiative also aims to reduce overall energy costs for institutions in each sector by about $40 billion annually as well as reduce CO2 emissions. It is also projected to create thousands of much-needed industry-related jobs.

So far, only about 20 percent of the bond money has been utilized, with over 30 states not yet taking advantage of its availability. Here’s to them soon realizing that the money is there to help them not only make their spaces more efficient but to also lower their utility bills.

[via Environmental Leader]

Image Credit: oatsy40/Flickr