Merchandise Mart First to Retrofit Under Clinton Climate Initiative
CHICAGO, Illinois, March 25, 2008 (ENS) - Chicago's Merchandise Mart, the largest commercial building in the world, has signed the first project development agreement in the United States under the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Under the agreement to retrofit the huge building with energy-saving technologies announced today, TAC Energy Solutions will reduce the amount of energy used by the Merchandise Mart and the amount of greenhouse gases the building emits. The project is part of the Clinton Climate Initiative's global Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program.

"The businesses and building owners collaborating on energy-saving building retrofits are saving money, making money, creating new jobs, and fighting climate change, all at once," said former President Bill Clinton.

"I am very pleased that my foundation has been able to accelerate these projects that reduce carbon emissions and increase the use and market for energy efficient technologies around the world," Clinton said. "Working together, we can save energy, reduce carbon emissions, strengthen the economy, and secure the future."

Chicago's Merchandise Mart opened for business in 1930. (Photo by J. Crocker)

At 4.2 million square feet, 25 stories tall and spanning two city blocks in downtown Chicago, The Merchandise Mart is a historic landmark building awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED-EB) status from the United States Green Buildings Council last November.

"The changes we have implemented at The Merchandise Mart to achieve our LEED-EB status have not only led to cost savings, but also to a new culture and point of view that permeates throughout our organization," said Christopher Kennedy, president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.

"By working with the Clinton Climate Initiative and TAC to achieve our energy saving goals, we will ensure that conserving resources continues to define our company and our way of life today," Kennedy said.

The Energy Solutions division of TAC, an energy services, building automation and security company, is working with The Merchandise Mart in the analysis, design and project development phase of the retrofit project, which will implement a variety of facility improvements and energy-saving measures through a performance contract.

This turnkey method combines the design, construction, commissioning and performance measurement into one guaranteed fixed price.

"TAC is especially honored that The Merchandise Mart has chosen to partner with us for its ongoing efforts in sustainability to augment their LEED certification," said Wes McDaniel, vice president of TAC Energy Solutions. "They are setting a tremendous example of environmental leadership for the city of Chicago."

The Clinton Foundation's Climate Initiative applies a business-oriented approach to fight climate change in practical, measurable ways. Clinton launched the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program last May at the second C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York.

This program brings together 10 of the world's largest energy service companies, six of the world's largest financial institutions, and many of the world's largest cities in an effort to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings across the municipal, private, commercial, educational and public housing sectors.

An initial group of 16 of the world's largest cities has agreed to participate in the retrofit program - Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Karachi, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toronto.

The Clinton Climate Initiative and its partners will assist participating cities with the development of programs to train local workers on the installation and maintenance of energy saving and clean energy products. The U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers have agreed to help coordinate these programs.

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