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Macy's, Sprint Join Presidential Challenge To Increase Building Energy Efficiency

Macy’s, Sprint and Johnson Controls will upgrade more than 200 million square feet of building space to cut energy use by at least 20 percent by 2020, as part of the Obama Administration’s Better Building Challenge.

Launched by President Obama in 2011, the initiative brings together corporations, universities, municipalities and other national leaders to make significant commitments to energy efficiency, reduce waste and save on energy costs. These steps support the President’s goal of cutting energy waste from homes and businesses in half over the next two decades, as announced in the State of the Union address last week.

“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 outgoing 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.”

As Better Buildings Challenge partners, Johnson Controls, Macy’s and Sprint will work with the Energy Department to implement energy savings practices that reduce energy waste and save money. They will also share facility-level energy use data and successful strategies with Better Buildings Challenge partners and other U.S. businesses and organizations in an effort to bring about a clean, sustainable energy economy.

Macy’s has pledged to reduce energy use in 179 million square feet of its commercial real estate and has engaged in aggressive energy reduction measures through the development and use of its energy information system to monitor, analyze and target key energy opportunities and has replaced over one million of its lamps over the last three years to reduce the energy used for lighting by more than 70 percent.

Sprint has developed a greenhouse gas reduction strategy focused on reducing energy consumption while increasing use of renewable energy and has succeeded in securing five 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.

Johnson Controls has reduced the energy intensity of its U.S. manufacturing plants by 25 percent from 2002 to 2008. Since 2000, it has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 18 million metric tons and generated savings of $7 billion for its building efficiency customers.

Each year, the United States spends nearly $200 billion just to power commercial buildings and another $200 billion to power industrial facilities. The Better Buildings Challenge aims to help America’s commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20 percent more efficient over the next decade.

Several other major brands have already joined the Challenge, including 3M, Briggs and Stratton, Kohl’s, Supervalu and Walgreens.

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant. @mikehower contributed.