Citi part of President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge

Citi becomes founder partner of President Obama's initiative to make US commercial premises more efficient

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Citi is one of 14 initial partner organizations to join the Better Buildings Challenge, part of the Better Buildings Initiative launched by President Obama in early 2011.

The Better Buildings Initiative aims to catalyze private sector investment in commercial buildings upgrades, retrofits and clean energy technologies to make US commercial premises 20% more efficient over the next decade.

This should save around $40 billion a year in energy costs while enabling business to grow, invest in new technology and create jobs.

As a financial ally in the Better Buildings Challenge, Citi will work with the US Department of Energy, clients and NGO partners to develop scalable financial solutions for energy efficiency projects in commercial and other types of property. At least $250 million of significant activity will occur in the first 18 months through its involvement.

"Energy efficiency is the low-hanging fruit in the creation of America's clean energy economy, but the financial solutions needed to bring large projects to market have not yet been developed or brought to scale," said Michael Eckhart, Global Head of Environmental Finance and Sustainability at Citi.

Citi already has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. In 2007 the bank announced a plan to direct $50 billion over 10 years to address climate change. Of that total, $30 billion has now been mobilized in support of the renewable energy and clean technology sectors, while Citi has also invested in energy efficiency upgrades of its own operations.

In recognition of its achievements, Citi was named the 'Most Innovative Investment Bank in Climate Change and Sustainability' by The Banker magazine in 2009 and 2010, and was shortlisted this year for 'Cross-Regional Sustainable Bank of the Year' by the Financial Times and International Finance Corporation.

Citi is also the only bank to have been named a 2011 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the US Environmental Protection Agency.