The Clinton Climate Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council expanded their partnership to radically reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment on a global scale, with an initial focus on accelerating efforts to drive efficiency in existing buildings.

Homes, schools, offices and other buildings account for 38 percent of CO2 emissions globally, according to the U.N. Environment Program. In the U.S. alone, the “low hanging fruit” in building efficiency could save the economy more than $160 billion by 2030, according to McKinsey & Company. Looking ahead, new program development is underway to rethink and redefine new building developments.

President Clinton said retrofitting buildings represents an immediate and measurable opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve the economy. “They are a priority for my Climate Initiative which is encouraging retrofit projects around the world,” he said. “I’m proud to strengthen my Foundation’s collaboration with the USGBC to accelerate this important work.”

To date, the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program has helped partners to initiate more than 250 retrofit projects encompassing over 500 million square feet of real estate in more than 30 cities around the world. These include retrofit projects across the municipal, private, commercial, education, and housing sectors. USGBC’s LEED for Existing Buildings/Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB/OM) certification system has resulted in energy performance improvements ranging from 30 to 60 percent in certified buildings. More than 2,300 projects in 12 countries have been registered or certified through LEED EB/OM.

“Two years ago, the Clinton Climate Initiative helped put the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions by improving the performance of our existing building stock squarely on the national agenda,” commented USGBC CEO, President and Founding Chairman Rick Fedrizzi. “USGBC is proud to partner with CCI to accelerate and expand the effort at this critical moment. Green building creates green jobs that save energy and money-and green building will help save our climate.”