The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced on Tuesday that it will make it easier for state and local governments to access more than $2 billion in existing low-cost financing to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs).
The department has issued new tax guidance, intended to clarify program standards and explain how states and localites can maximize the potential of the bonds, the White House said in a release.
The Obama administration also announced that 36 new states, local governments and school districts have joined President Barack Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge. The new commitments from these governments and districts amount to nearly 300 million square feet in building energy upgrades.
These commitments should have long-term benefits for those communities, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement, including reduced energy costs, decreased pollution and job creation across a range of industries. The challenge is part of President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative, which was introduced in February 2011.
The goal of the initiative is to support job creation with the support of private sector investment in commercial and industrial building upgrades and to make America’s buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade, according to the administration.
Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina joined the Better Buildings Challenge along with 19 cities and towns, seven counties, and six school districts.