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Maria Vargas, director of the Better Buildings Challenge for the U.S. Department of Energy, called the Atlanta BBC “a model for the rest of the country.” Atlanta, she said, has distinguished itself from Better Buildings programs in other parts of the country by uniting business, government and nonprofits behind the program’s aims to drive energy and water upgrades of commercial and institutional buildings.

Atlanta’s public private partnership has been able to provide significant resources to support ABBC participants in identifying and implementing energy and water conservation measures. As a result of this participation in the ABBC, 64 buildings have received free assessments totaling over 37 million square feet.

Atlanta was the first city to complete its showcase project, the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. As a result of its complete energy overhaul, the city-owned property reduced its utility bill by 40 percent and will realize an estimated $200,000 in annual energy savings.

Atlanta was one of the first cities, along with Seattle and Los Angeles, to join the challenge. The nationwide program now includes more than 30 cities, municipalities, school districts and state governments.