Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) recently announced that it accepted the Better Buildings Challenge from the White House and U.S. Department of Energy, becoming a Better Buildings Challenge Utility Ally. As a Utility Ally, PG&E will provide energy-efficiency programs that will reach 30 million square feet of its commercial customers by 2015 – the equivalent square footage of approximately 11 Empire State Buildings.

Issued by the Obama Administration and supported by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the Better Buildings Challenge calls on leading companies, universities and communities to make energy upgrades across a total of 300 million square feet, and to invest a total of $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects.

"Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge are demonstrating how energy-efficient buildings save energy and money – and create jobs," said Chu. "We look forward to working with these leaders as they upgrade their facilities and create solutions and strategies for others to follow."

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the energy to operate the buildings in which people work, shop and go to school costs the U.S. approximately $200 billion annually and, on average, 30 percent of this energy is wasted.

"PG&E's goal through the Better Buildings Challenge is to bring energy savings to 30 million square feet of our commercial customers in just under three years," said Helen Burt, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer of PG&E. "Customers, businesses and communities all share a stake in our success, and the Better Buildings Challenge represents a new and important way for us to work together."

Other Better Buildings Allies include AFL-CIO, Citi, Clean Fund, GE Capital, Green Campus Partners, Renewable Funding and Southern California Edison, among other financial institutions and utilities committed to supporting the energy efficiency marketplace with specific, commercially available products and programs. By joining the program, they commit to conducting an energy efficiency assessment, showcasing an energy efficiency project and reporting results.

The Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative. Launched in February by President Obama and spearheaded by President Clinton through the Clinton Global Initiative, the Better Buildings Initiative seeks to make America's buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade, reduce energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion and create jobs.

PG&E's commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge is part of its strong record of working with customers to deliver cost savings and energy savings through energy efficiency. Since 1976, PG&E's programs have avoided the release of more than 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, based on cumulative lifecycle gross energy savings.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.