Bill Clinton Spreads the Love (for Energy Retrofits).

President ClintonLas Vegas: sin, gambling, and... energy efficiency?

You bet. And Former President Bill Clinton traveled to Las Vegas Wednesday to applaud the city's climate-changing virtue. 

A 46-year-old downtown office building, owned by Thompson National Properties, became Nevada's first retrofitted building to receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building underwent a 13-month, $11.5 million retrofit by Shangri-La Construction. It now features double-glazed windows to reduce heat transfer, updated heating and ventilation systems, a new roof, and low-flow and no-flush plumbing fixtures. All in, the measures decreased the building's energy use by 30 percent and water consumption by 40 percent. And they add up to a savings of at least $50,000 a year in electricity.

President Clinton told the suit-clad crowd that in large cities, buildings produce up to 70 percent of carbon emissions, which can be reduced mightily by retrofitting the oldest, most wasteful among them. The Clinton Climate Initiative's (CCI) Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program has gotten the ball rolling on more than than 250 energy retrofit projects in more than 20 cities around the world. Congress could create a program that would guarantee a percentage of loans for retrofitting, and require that the U.S. government follow strict green standards when it builds, he said.

Energy efficient building retrofits could pay off for the economy, too, Clinton said: "Changing the way we conserve and produce energy is the No. 1 thing we can do in America to get the jobs going again." The Shangri-La Construction project was just that for Las Vegas, creating 250 construction jobs while the national unemployment rate among builders hovers at 25 percent. 

Here's to having what happens in Vegas not stay in Vegas.

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