A $4 billion public-private partnership to retrofit buildings for energy efficiency while creating jobs could also draw investment from financial markets, Citigroup CEO Richard Parsons told CNBC.
"This wins for labor, it wins for business, because it drops savings on the bottom line, and it wins for America," Parsons said. "The key is, we need to make sure that we can create the financial engineering that makes it work. We have to get financial markets comfortable with the models, and then we’re off to the races."
The plan was announced Friday by President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton. Parsons is one of 60 chief executives who said they'd invest nearly $2 billion into energy efficiency projects, including retrofitting, with $2 billion coming from the federal government.
The intent is to upgrade buildings over the next two years with a goal of improving energy performance by 20 percent by 2020.
"This makes eminent good sense," said Parsons. "Where is the place where we can do the most towards energy independence? Just be more efficient with the energy we use."
Unlike the Obama administration's previous backing of solar power, he said this plan will help the country move closer to energy independence while creating jobs for skilled workers and ultimately pay for itself.
"That’s why Citi is involved," he said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.