8 Firms Chosen to Spearhead Global Building Efficiency Project

WASHINGTON, DC — Eight large companies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will participate in a pilot program launched this week by the U.S. and nearly two dozen other countries that promotes energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

3M, Cleveland Clinic, Dow Chemical, Grubb & Ellis, Marriott International, Nissan, Target Corporation and Walmart will take part in the the Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership to speed efficiency improvements in commercial buildings and industrial facilities.

It is part of the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge, a series of new green power and efficiency initiatives for buildings, smart grids and vehicles that could save enough energy to avoid the construction of 500 power plants over the next two decades. The Global Energy Efficiency Challenge was unveiled this week at the first Clean Energy Ministerial hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The collaboration is intended to speed the world's transition to greener power sources.

"The Clean Energy Ministerial has brought together leaders from around the world to take unprecedented actions to deploy clean energy technologies -- from energy efficiency to renewable energy to smart grids to carbon capture.  These steps will promote economic growth, create jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions," Secretary Chu said in a statement. "What we've seen here is that working together, we can accomplish more, faster, than working alone."

The Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership will have three planks: development of a certification process to ensure continuous energy efficiency improvements; promoting the adoption of energy efficient best practices and technologies across sectors, such as hotels; and accelerating the use of energy-savings technologies across sectors, such as cool roofs and combined heat and power technologies.

JFE Steep Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Company will also participate in the sectoral task groups.

The private sector will also play a large role in the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative. The program will focus on the deployment of ultra-efficient appliances and the implementation of new standards that force the most inefficient appliances out of the market. The program will focus first on televisions and lighting.

Additional initiatives include: the Bioenergy Working Group (PDF) to advance deployment of renewable energy from biological sources, such as plants; the Carbon Capture and Storage Action Group (PDF) to overcome the technology's barriers; Clean Energy Solutions Centers, to support clean energy in developing countries; Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Womens' Initiative (PDF), nudge young women toward clean energy careers;  the Electric Vehicles Initiative, to provide a forum for global electric vehicle efforts development and deployment; International Smart Grid Action Network, to speed deployment of smart electricity grids; the Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group; the Solar and LED Energy Access Program to bring clean energy to poverty-stricken regions; and the Sustainable Development of Hydropower Initiative to promote hydropower in developing countries.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user mugley.