MCAA and ASHRAE will provide technical assistance to a new energy-saving renovation campaign organized by former President Bill Clinton.

The Mechanical Contractors Association of American and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers will provide technical assistance to a new energy-saving renovation campaign organized by former President Bill Clinton.

“MCAA views our work with the program as a great opportunity to show the world what mechanical contractors can do to help solve one of the most pressing issues of our time,” said MCAA President David J. Kruse.

The William J. Clinton Foundation announced the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit May 16 at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York City. Financed by worldwide banks and backed by four well-known climate control manufacturers, Clinton’s project hopes to cut carbon emissions, reduce energy use and save money on utilities in existing city-owned buildings in 16 cities around the world.

“Climate change is a global problem that requires local action,” Clinton said at a press conference that day. “The businesses, banks and cities partnering with my foundation are addressing the issue of global warming because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s good for their bottom line. They’re going to save money, make money, create jobs and have a tremendous collective impact on climate change all at once.”

Many of the responsibilities that the MCAA and ASHRAE will offer are still being considered, but both associations will likely offer design expertise and training programs to do the needed work.

The program, a project of the Clinton Climate Initiative, brings together Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Siemens, and Trane, which will each compete to conduct energy audits of city-owned and private buildings. The companies will also guarantee the energy savings that will come from the retrofit projects that they manage.

In North America, the initial cities will be Chicago, Houston, New York City, Toronto, and Mexico City. Other cities around the world are Bangkok, Berlin, Delhi, Johannesburg, Karachi, London, Melbourne, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Seoul, and Tokyo.

The cities will put up their own buildings for retrofit in order to streamline permit requirements and provide incentives for private building owners to do the same.

Banking partners ABN AMRO, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and UBS have each committed to arrange $1 billion in financing for the program. The financing will be repaid from the energy savings that the retrofit projects will achieve.

Clinton’s foundation said much of retrofit work has the potential to reduce energy use by as much as 50%.

“ASHRAE is in the best position to provide immediate support to the cities seeking guidance through the Clinton Climate Initiative due to our 30-year involvement in design guidance for energy conservation for both new and existing buildings,” said ASHRAE President Terry Townsend.

ASHRAE is currently working to provide energy guidance in existing buildings through its Advanced Energy Design Guide series. This existing buildings guide, developed in collaboration with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the U.S. Green Building Council with participation by BOMA and the U.S. General Service Administration, will show building owners how they can initially reduce their energy consumption by 30%. It is tentatively scheduled to be available in fall 2008.