News Release: December 2, 2011 - Presidents Obama and Clinton Recognize Real Estate Roundtable Members' Participation in Better Buildings Challenge

$4 Billion Commitment to Building Retrofits Could Create Up To 50,000 Jobs   

 print version of this news release (.pdf) -  - White House Fact Sheet on Better Buildings Initiative  -  
- White House News Release on Better Buildings Challenge -  
    December 2, 2011  Media Contacts: (202) 639-8400
 Xenia (Ksen’ya) Jowyk or Scott Sherwood 

(WASHINGTON D.C.) — President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton today announced private-public partnership agreements as part of the "Better Buildings Challenge" (BBC), recognizing the key participation of Real Estate Roundtable members to reach the initiative's building retrofit goals. (Watch video of comments by Presidents Obama and Clinton).

Jeff_DeBoer_2010_FallRT 

 "Tto make deeper and more significant energy reductions nationwide, policymakers must recognize the cost and financing hurdles that confront the broader range of building owners. Meaningful tax incentives and credit guarantee support are essential to spur transformation in the retrofit market – which will help to create tens of thousands of more jobs in the process,” said Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above. 

"Roundtable members continue to be at the vanguard of innovation in making our built environment more energy efficient," said Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey D. DeBoer. "As our economy and the real estate sector struggle to recover, the Obama Administration is taking the right steps to encourage building retrofits that will get Americans back to work, modernize our infrastructure to keep pace with the global marketplace, and secure long-term energy benefits for the country. The Roundtable looks forward to continuing our work with both the Administration and Congress on additional policy changes that are needed to increase the number of retrofits for even more building owners, and we congratulate our members who are currently participating in the Better Buildings Challenge.”

Members of The Real Estate Roundtable who have entered into BBC agreements with the Obama Administration include those associated with CBRE, Citi, Forest City Enterprises, GE, HEI Hotels & Resorts, IHG, Jones Lang LaSalle, The PNC Financial Services Group, Prologis, Shorenstein Properties, LLC, TIAA-CREF, Transwestern, USAA Real Estate Company, and Lend Lease.

According to today's White House announcement, BBC partners have made aggregate commitments of nearly $2 billion to improve energy efficiency across approximately 1.4 billion square feet of office, industrial, hospitality, and other commercial real estate space. The Obama Administration also announced it will direct $2 billion to a two-year effort across the Federal government's real estate portfolio to encourage maximum use of "performance-based contracting" – whereby third parties guarantee that the expenses of an energy-efficiency retrofit project will be compensated from its resulting lower energy costs.

Job creation is the BBC's primary objective. With the skilled workers needed to retrofit buildings with energy efficiency upgrades, hiring in the construction sector will ripple throughout the economy, spurring manufacturing, engineering, service sector, and other employment opportunities.

A jobs analysis released by The Real Estate Roundtable, U.S. Green Building Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council in June estimated the number of "green jobs" that could be created with federal incentives. With the $4 billion committed in today's announcement, 50,000 green jobs could be created to get Americans back to work by modernizing buildings throughout the nation's cities and suburbs.

“Leading private sector owners are committing resources and doing their best to increase energy efficiency in buildings,” DeBoer said. “But to make deeper and more significant energy reductions nationwide, policymakers must recognize the cost and financing hurdles that confront the broader range of building owners. Meaningful tax incentives and credit guarantee support are essential to spur transformation in the retrofit market – which will help to create tens of thousands of more jobs in the process.” 

(ReferenceWhite House Fact Sheet on the Better Buildings Initiative)  

About The Real Estate Roundtable
The Real Estate Roundtable brings together leaders of the nation’s publicly-held and privately owned real estate ownership, development, lending and management firms with the leaders of national real estate trade associations to jointly address key national policy issues relating to real estate and the overall economy. Collectively, Roundtable members' portfolios contain over 5 billion square feet of office, retail and industrial properties; over 1.5 million apartment units; and in excess of 1.3 million hotel rooms.  Participating trade associations represent more than 1.5 million people involved in virtually every aspect of the real estate business.

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