Today I had the honor of meeting President Obama and shaking his hand!
The President was at Penn State to provide more detail on the State of the Union plan to "Win the Future" through energy efficiency. (see my last blog entry which I wrote before I was informed I would go to this meeting with the President) He first toured some of the smarter building work in the Penn State Labs and then moved to the U Penn rec. center to address a larger crowd of professors, students, and business leaders.
President Obama announced his "Better Buildings Initiative" with a goal to improve energy efficiency by 20%. He mentioned the importance of Penn State as one the 3 energy HUB projects in the country to provide innovative smarter building leadership. He called out IBM as an important part of this project. That made us feel pretty damn proud!
Some of my favorite quotes from today: “ Show us your ideas, we’ll show you the money “ “ We will fund this by diverting funding that is currently given to the major oil companies …they are doing just fine on their own” “Smarter Buildings may not be as sexy as some other green projects your hear about but they are most important given they contribute 40% of the carbon emissions in our country” “ Study and create solutions as if the country depends on it…(pause for effect)...because it does! ”
Here are the high level actions:
New tax incentives for building efficiency
· More financing opportunities for commercial retrofits
· “Race to Green” for state and municipal governments that streamline regulations and attract private investment for retrofit projects
· The Better Buildings Challenge
· Training the next generation of commercial building technology workers