A new initiative spearheaded by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) will help 10 U.S. cities develop customized plans to boost the energy efficiency of their largest buildings.

According to Cliff Majersik, IMT's executive director, NRDC and IMT will provide technical assistance over the next three years to help each of the participating cities develop and implement individualized plans. NRDC estimates that the City Energy Project (CEP), funded by partnerships with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation, will reduce carbon emissions by a total of 5 million to 7 million tons annually—the equivalent of taking 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road each year.

Officials from participating cities told reporters on Jan. 29 that they hope to share ideas to develop effective strategies for reducing carbon emissions from buildings.

The participating cities are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) said that New York City already has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions 19% since 2007. He said that cities can learn from New York City's and other cities' successes. "Our hope is that the solutions that the 10 cities come up with can be replicated in cities around the world," he said. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said that although L.A. "has long been a leader in environmental policy," climate change is a "certainty facing us in a very extreme way."

Garcetti said the "livability of Los Angeles" could be at stake, and, as a result, "this is a key matter we are focused on."

Laurie Kerr, CEP director, said CEP will be tracking the program's success. "We want to make sure this [program] has quantifiable impacts," she said.