Sen. Franken Continues Push to Create Jobs, Cut Energy Costs By Retrofitting Public and Private Buildings in Minnesota
Tells Business Leaders and Government Officials that Increased Energy Efficiency Is Win-Win Friday at Forum with Top U.S. Energy Department Official in St. Paul
U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told more than 100 Minnesota business leaders and local government officials today that energy-efficient retrofits of public and private buildings will create badly-needed jobs, save energy and trim billions of dollars in future energy costs in Minnesota and across the country.
Sen. Franken, a member of the Senate Energy Committee, made his remarks at his "Forum on Energy Savings and Retrofitting" held Friday on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus. The Forum is part of Sen. Franken's "Back to Work Minnesota" retrofitting initiative launched in October, which brings together local and national leaders from the public and private sector to create energy-efficiency jobs in Minnesota by retrofitting both public and private buildings in the state.
“Creating jobs and cutting energy costs is a win-win situation for Minnesota and for the United States, and we badly need to do both,” said Sen. Franken. "In communities of all sizes across Minnesota, people are realizing that retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient will have both short- and long-term benefits that will more than pay for themselves over time. By partnering with business and city leaders, we can overcome the barriers to making buildings more energy efficient.”
At the Forum, Sen. Franken was joined by U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman who emphasized the economic importance of the federal "Better Buildings Initiative," a public-private initiative launched last year which aims to save Americans more than $40 billion by increasing energy efficiency in the country's commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. Deputy Secretary Poneman pointed out that the State of Minnesota is one of more than 60 organizations nationwide who have committed to help achieve the goals of the Better Buildings Initiative.
Retrofitting Promoted in This Year's State of the Union Speech
In Tuesday's State of the Union speech, President Obama urged Congress to provide incentives for businesses and manufacturers to upgrade their buildings and factories. Doing so, he said, will reduce energy bills by $100 billion over the next decade, and will create badly-needed jobs for construction workers.
Co-sponsors of Sen. Franken's Forum include the Energy Service Coalition (MN Chapter), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Urban Land Institute, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's "Minnesota Waste Wise" affiliate, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and Clean Energy Resource Teams.