White House adviser outlines Obama’s green investments during Greenbuild
Nancy Sutley, chair for council on environmental quality for the White House and President Obama’s principal environmental adviser, provided an update on the President’s achievements in changing energy and environmental policies since he took office, and outlined future plans during the closing plenary for the 2009 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Nov. 13, in Phoenix.
One of the major contributions of the president to the green movement has been the money allocated for green technology in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Sutley called the $80 billion allocated in ARRA a “down payment” on President Obama’s investment in a green future.
Additionally, the president has taken steps to establish higher fuel efficiency standards. In May, he increased the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to a unified national standard of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The president also created a new energy research center with China, worked with other world leaders to end subsidies on fossil fuels, and, with Japan’s president, has “renewed the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Sutley said.
The White House also called for improved efficiency of the federal government. “We’re looking at the way the federal government operates, as it’s the single largest energy user in the United States. The federal government has more than 3 million civilian and military personnel and occupies 500,000 buildings,” Sutley said. On Oct. 5, the president signed an agreement requiring all federal agencies to “lead by example by putting our size and scale to work to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas pollution,” she said.
In addition to outlining President Obama’s green investments, Sutley applauded the efforts of the thousands of green building players in attendance. “You, in this room, are at the forefront of this effort, helping to build a clean energy economy,” she said. “You are showing communities, colleagues, competitors that it can be done well, even in challenging economic times.
“Buildings consume 40 percent [of total energy used in the United States], and, plain and simple, buildings last a long time. We need to build them more environmentally and socially responsibly for the economy, workforce and generations to come. We know this is possible in new buildings and existing buildings, and we can create jobs while we’re doing it,” Sutley said.