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Wall Street Journal: New Push for Making Buildings Energy Efficient

By LAURA MECKLER

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled tax breaks and other proposals aimed at getting commercial-building owners to retrofit their structures to be more energy efficient, an initiative he hopes to fund with higher taxes on oil and gas companies.

The White House wouldn’t say how much the package might cost. But the president, speaking at a visit to Penn State University, challenged corporate, labor and university leaders to join the effort. A White House official said former President Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric Co., would lead the effort to get the private sector involved in retrofitting buildings.

The program is mostly a set of carrots that the administration hopes will persuade private businesses to invest in retrofitting of existing commercial facilities, including more lucrative tax breaks to blunt the cost and easier access to loans to pay for upgrades. The goal is to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings nationwide by 20% by 2020.

“Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution and create jobs right here in the United States of America,” Mr. Obama said at Penn State, where he first toured several labs working on energy efficient technologies.

 

Read the full story on the Wall Street Journal’s website.