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US cities target building energy consumption

Cutting the energy consumption of big buildings in 10 big US cities could save nearly $1 billion a year, according to the leaders behind the new City Energy Project.

An initiative from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, the City Energy Project is launching with the participation of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City.

Each city will receive help in crafting its own customized plan to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings.

“We have the skills and technology to make buildings more efficient, but we need a coordinated effort by major cities and the private sector to make it happen,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation. “The City Energy Project will give city leaders and the real estate industry the support they need to make buildings better, improving the lives of millions of city residents.”

Buildings in the US are the largest single source of the nation’s carbon emissions, accounting for 40 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted. In cities, buildings can be even more carbon-intensive, generating anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of a region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The City Energy Project aims to reduce building energy consumption enough to save nearly $1 billion on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by five million to seven million tons a year — equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide generated each year by one million to one-and-a-half-million passenger vehicles.

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