Biden Administration Requests Comments on Draft Definition for “Zero Emissions Buildings”

The Biden administration on Wednesday issued a draft definition for the term “Zero Emissions Buildings.” The voluntary guideline would apply to non-federal, existing buildings and new construction. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requested comments by Feb. 5 from industry and other stakeholders about Part 1 of the draft “ZEB” language, which is focused on “zero operating emissions.” (DOE announcement | National Definition Draft Criteria | Comments Form)

Draft Criteria

  • An eventual, final ZEB definition would be the first federal government guideline providing voluntary criteria for buildings that aspire to zero emissions status. DOE’s proposed draft defines a zero emissions building through three (3) criteria:
    1. Highly energy efficient
    2. Free of on-site emissions from energy use, and
    3. Powered solely from clean energy
  • DOE will hold two public listening sessions on the draft definition. Registration is capped at the first 100 attendees:
    1. Thursday, January 11, 2024 @ 10 a.m. ET – Register
    2. Tuesday, January 30, 2024 @ 10:30 a.m. ET – Register

National ZEB Definition

  • RER plans to submit comments about the draft proposal. A federal definition for ZEB could bring much-needed consistency to help CRE owners and investors establish long-term emissions goals for buildings. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 29, 2023)
  • The Roundtable and a coalition of real estate organizations sent a Sept. 14 letter to US-EPA supporting development of standard methods and metrics for buildings and tenants to quantify their emissions.
  • Federal standards, definitions, and tools “are the North Star though which local governments can inform their law-making, and this helps bring some sense and order to the otherwise conflicting patchwork of climate laws and frameworks developed by states, cities, and NGOs,” said The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Chair Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)
  • Roundtable Senior VP and Counsel Duane Desiderio was quoted on Sept. 28 in the Washington Post about how CRE companies may welcome the idea of a single federal standard. “A workable, usable federal definition of zero-emission buildings can bring some desperately needed uniformity and consistency to a chaotic regulatory landscape,” Desiderio said. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)

Executive branch officials from the White House, federal agencies, and leading non-governmental organizations will discuss the national ZEB definition on Jan. 24 during sessions on sustainability issues at The Roundtable’s all-member 2024 State of the Industry Meeting.

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Biden Administration to Prepare Unifying, Voluntary Definition for “Zero Emissions Buildings”

Green foreground with buildings in background

This week, the White House’s climate policy chief announced the imminent release of voluntary, uniform federal-level criteria for “Zero Emissions Buildings.” The “ZEB” definition could bring much-needed consistency to help CRE owners and investors establish long-term goals for buildings that align with varying climate programs adopted across numerous jurisdictions and international frameworks. (Washington Post, Sept. 28)

Proposed ZEB Definition in October

  • A CRE coalition of real estate organizations including The Roundtable sent a Sept. 14 letter to US-EPA supporting development of standard methods and metrics for buildings and tenants to quantify their emissions.
  • Federal standards, definitions, and tools “are the North Star though which local governments can inform their law-making, and this helps bring some sense and order to the otherwise conflicting patchwork of climate laws and frameworks developed by states, cities, and NGOs,” said Roundtable Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Chair Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)   

A Climate Priority for CRE

White House -- National Climate Resilience Framework publication
  • Roundtable Senior VP and Counsel Duane Desiderio was quoted yesterday in the Washington Post and Popular Science about how CRE executives welcome the idea of a single federal standard. “A workable, usable federal definition of zero-emission buildings can bring some desperately needed uniformity and consistency to a chaotic regulatory landscape,” Desiderio said. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)
  • Yesterday, The White House also released a National Climate Resilience Framework in anticipation of an eventual White House Climate Resilience Summit. The Framework identifies climate resilience principles and specific actions to expand and accelerate progress towards six objectives that includes, “Expand adoption of the latest consensus-based building and energy codes and high-performance standards.” (White House Fact Sheet, Sept. 28)

The Roundtable will continue to work with our partner organizations and develop comments on the ZEB definition upon its anticipated release next month.

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  • A CRE coalition of real estate organizations including The Roundtable sent a Sept. 14 letter to US-EPA supporting development of standard methods and metrics for buildings and tenants to quantify their emissions.
  • Federal standards, definitions, and tools “are the North Star though which local governments can inform their law-making, and this helps bring some sense and order to the otherwise conflicting patchwork of climate laws and frameworks developed by states, cities, and NGOs,” said Roundtable Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Chair Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)   

A Climate Priority for CRE

White House -- National Climate Resilience Framework publication
  • Roundtable Senior VP and Counsel Duane Desiderio was quoted yesterday in the Washington Post and Popular Science about how CRE executives welcome the idea of a single federal standard. “A workable, usable federal definition of zero-emission buildings can bring some desperately needed uniformity and consistency to a chaotic regulatory landscape,” Desiderio said. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)
  • Yesterday, The White House also released a National Climate Resilience Framework in anticipation of an eventual White House Climate Resilience Summit. The Framework identifies climate resilience principles and specific actions to expand and accelerate progress towards six objectives that includes, “Expand adoption of the latest consensus-based building and energy codes and high-performance standards.” (White House Fact Sheet, Sept. 28)

The Roundtable will continue to work with our partner organizations and develop comments on the ZEB definition upon its anticipated release next month.

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  • A CRE coalition of real estate organizations including The Roundtable sent a Sept. 14 letter to US-EPA supporting development of standard methods and metrics for buildings and tenants to quantify their emissions.
  • Federal standards, definitions, and tools “are the North Star though which local governments can inform their law-making, and this helps bring some sense and order to the otherwise conflicting patchwork of climate laws and frameworks developed by states, cities, and NGOs,” said Roundtable Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Chair Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)   

A Climate Priority for CRE

White House -- National Climate Resilience Framework publication
  • Roundtable Senior VP and Counsel Duane Desiderio was quoted yesterday in the Washington Post and Popular Science about how CRE executives welcome the idea of a single federal standard. “A workable, usable federal definition of zero-emission buildings can bring some desperately needed uniformity and consistency to a chaotic regulatory landscape,” Desiderio said. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)
  • Yesterday, The White House also released a National Climate Resilience Framework in anticipation of an eventual White House Climate Resilience Summit. The Framework identifies climate resilience principles and specific actions to expand and accelerate progress towards six objectives that includes, “Expand adoption of the latest consensus-based building and energy codes and high-performance standards.” (White House Fact Sheet, Sept. 28)

The Roundtable will continue to work with our partner organizations and develop comments on the ZEB definition upon its anticipated release next month.

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  • National Climate Advisor, Ali Zaidi, stated in yesterday’s keynote address at the Greenbuild 2023 conference in Washington, D.C. that the proposed federal ZEB definition will be released next month
  • Zaidi noted The Real Estate Roundtable in his comments as an important group for addressing the need to transform buildings at scale.
  • When the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces the proposed ZEB definition it will kick-off an anticipated 30-day public comment period. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR program is coordinating closely with DOE. A final ZEB definition could be published by the end of this year.

Federal Consistency is Essential

White House with roses in foreground
  • DOE’s ZEB definition would not be mandatory on the private sector. It will be a voluntary, aspirational guideline at the federal level.
  • However, a definition from the U.S. government can finally build a uniform understanding of what it takes for a building to achieve “zero emissions” over time, along a realistic and achievable pathway. 
  • A CRE coalition of real estate organizations including The Roundtable sent a Sept. 14 letter to US-EPA supporting development of standard methods and metrics for buildings and tenants to quantify their emissions.
  • Federal standards, definitions, and tools “are the North Star though which local governments can inform their law-making, and this helps bring some sense and order to the otherwise conflicting patchwork of climate laws and frameworks developed by states, cities, and NGOs,” said Roundtable Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Chair Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)   

A Climate Priority for CRE

White House -- National Climate Resilience Framework publication
  • Roundtable Senior VP and Counsel Duane Desiderio was quoted yesterday in the Washington Post and Popular Science about how CRE executives welcome the idea of a single federal standard. “A workable, usable federal definition of zero-emission buildings can bring some desperately needed uniformity and consistency to a chaotic regulatory landscape,” Desiderio said. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)
  • Yesterday, The White House also released a National Climate Resilience Framework in anticipation of an eventual White House Climate Resilience Summit. The Framework identifies climate resilience principles and specific actions to expand and accelerate progress towards six objectives that includes, “Expand adoption of the latest consensus-based building and energy codes and high-performance standards.” (White House Fact Sheet, Sept. 28)

The Roundtable will continue to work with our partner organizations and develop comments on the ZEB definition upon its anticipated release next month.

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Roundtable, Nareit Critique Proposed International Standard for Building Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions

As the buildings sector makes progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet global climate goals, The Roundtable and Nareit submitted comments today about proposed guidance that would create “unworkable and unattainable” standards. (RER-Nareit joint comments)

Science-Based Targets

  • A number of real estate companies use science-based protocols to establish portfolio-wide emissions reductions targets. The Roundtable convened a working group of its Sustainability Policy Committee (SPAC) to review and assess SBTi’s draft guidance. Nareit conducted a similar process with its members. These efforts resulted in the organizations’ unified position.

RER-Nareit Position

  • The Roundtable and Nareit seek a constructive dialogue with SBTi, as their letter explains. However, the real estate groups expressed concern that SBTi’s proposal would require building stakeholders to set emissions targets for sources and operations they do not control, based too heavily on estimates and speculation as opposed to actual and verifiable data.

  • Key points raised in the joint comments include:

    Nareit and Real Estate Roundtable logos
    • Building owners must have options to purchase off-site renewable energy when they set science-based targets. Real estate in dense urban areas faces major barriers to deploy solar panels and similar measures on-site, so owners should be encouraged to increase overall clean energy supplies for broader market availability.

    • There should be no categorical, across-the-board mandate to set emissions targets based on tenants’ energy use because building owners do not control operations in leased spaces. Nor do owners have general access to meter data showing how much energy a tenant uses.

    • Emissions goals should not require, in all circumstances, reporting on “embodied carbon” in materials. Manufacturers do not uniformly provide such embodied emissions data for the concrete, steel, and other products they produce—so building stakeholders should not be required to guess this information in their climate reports.

    • Full-blown building electrification is not practicable, feasible, or even desirable for occupants’ safety and comfort in all cases. SBTi should abandon its proposed ban on all new fossil fuel building installations starting in 2025.    

Why It Matters

SBTi logo
  • There is no mandate in the U.S. at the federal level for real estate companies to set science-based emissions targets. However, anticipated rules from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are expected to require registered companies to report to investors on material climate-related financial risks. Those disclosures could include corporate efforts to reduce emissions following SBTi’s and similar standards. (Roundtable Weekly, March 17March 6 and June 10, 2022).
     
  • In addition, key aspects of SBTi’s proposal counter voluntary efforts underway at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that recognize advances in low-carbon buildings and portfolios. (Roundtable WeeklyMarch 3 and March 4, 2022)

  • Moreover, varying and often conflicting climate mandates on buildings are proliferating at the local level. (Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 9, 2022). SBTi’s proposed approach should not gain traction in regulatory building performance standards imposed by cities and states. 

A final version of SBTi’s buildings sector guidance is expected this fall. The Roundtable will continue to track the issue, coordinate with Nareit and other allied groups, and educate policy makers as this matter develops. 

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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Local Natural Gas Ban on New Construction

San Diego G&E natgas pipeline

A federal appeals court on Monday struck a local law that banned natural gas hook-ups to new buildings. (Wall Street Journal, April 17 and AP News, April 18)

State and Local Gas Bans

  • In California Restaurant Ass’n v. City of Berkeley, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Berkeley, California ordinance was illegal because federal law “preempts” local building codes that try to prohibit stoves, furnaces and other appliances that use natural gas. (Politico E&E News, April 18).
  • Dozens of cities including New York, Washington, D.C, Los Angeles, and Chicago—and the states of California, Colorado, Maryland, and Washington—have passed building electrification mandates requiring new construction to install expensive heat pumps and other electric equipment for heating, cooling, and cooking.
  • New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has proposed a similar statewide ban on natural gas furnaces as a way to fight climate change. (Bloomberg, Jan. 23)

Impact of Court Ruling

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

  • The Ninth Circuit’s reasoning will likely prompt federal preemption challenges and may pose a “chilling effect” to similar state and local building decarbonization laws. (E&E News, April 18). Yet, environmental advocates maintain that the ruling is limited in scope and will not call into question other gas bans. (POLITICO, April 18)
  • Meanwhile, about 20 states have gone the other way with “bans on bans.” These laws would prohibit their cities and municipalities from stopping natural gas distribution and requiring all-electric new buildings.
  • “States and localities can’t skirt the text of broad preemption provisions” in a law passed by Congress to address the 1970s energy crisis, Judge Patrick Bumatay wrote for the Ninth Circuit’s unanimous opinion.

As its next litigation option, the City of Berkeley might ask for a fuller panel of Ninth Circuit judges to uphold its ordinance. The Roundtable will continue to monitor how local natural gas bans and related building performance standards impact federal-level policies that address real estate’s role to help tackle climate change. (Roundtable Weekly, March 3 and Jan. 20)

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Energy Department Releases Latest Nationwide Data on Building Energy Use

CBECS 2018 report

The Department of Energy (DOE) this week presented its latest data on energy use in U.S. commercial buildings. The nationwide information released by DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the basis for ENERGY STAR building scores from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (EIA final results and reports

CBECS Results 

  • The latest Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) reflects information collected in 2018. Although this is EIA’s newest building data, it is a “snapshot” in time—and does not account for occupancy rates or energy usage during or after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the 2018 CBECS, there are an estimated 5.9 million public and private commercial buildings in the U.S. across non-residential asset classes—75% of which were constructed before the year 2000. (CBECS “building characteristics” highlights)
  • Key CBECS findings on building energy consumption and expenditures include:
     
    • Building energy efficiency improved compared to the 2012 survey.
      Total floor space in commercial buildings increased yet energy consumption did not. Commercial buildings overall consumed 12% less energy per square foot of floor space in 2018 than in 2012. 

    • Electricity and natural gas accounted for about 94% of energy consumed.
      Electricity accounted for 60% of energy consumed (mostly for cooling) and natural gas for 34% (mostly for heating).
    • Large buildings were fewer but consumed over one-third of energy.
      Buildings over 100,000 square feet accounted for 2% of all commercial buildings—yet covered 34% of total commercial floor space. The newest buildings were the most energy intensive.
    • Commercial buildings spent $141 billion on energy in 2018, averaging $1.46 per square foot.
      Commercial buildings spent $119 billion on electricity, or 84% of their total energy expenditures. Natural gas accounted for 12% of total commercial building energy expenditures ($16 billion).
    • Space heating accounted for close to one-third of end-use consumption.
      Space heating was the most energy-intensive end use, especially in colder climates. Office equipment and computing were the least intensive end uses.

ENERGY STAR & NextGen Label 

EPA NextGen logo

  • EPA’s successful ENERGY STAR score—an efficiency rating for buildings—is generally based on CBECS data.
  • EPA is expected to update its models for calculating ENERGY STAR ratings in 2025, under the newly-released 2018 CBECS data. The anticipated update could greatly alter a building’s current ENERGY STAR score (presently based on 2012 CBECS data).   
  • EPA recently proposed a new voluntary label for low-carbon buildings. The NextGen label would expand upon ENERGY STAR and recognize buildings that use significant percentages of solar and other forms of renewable energy. 

The Real Estate Roundtable submitted comments to EPA last month on the NextGen building label proposal. (Roundtable letter and Roundtable Weekly, March 3) 

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White House Announces Federal Building Performance Standards

The White House

The White House on Wednesday released a new standard to reduce scope 1 “direct” emissions from fossil fuels combusted to heat and cool federal buildings. (CNBC |UPI | PoliticoPro, Dec. 7)

Federal Building Performance Standard (BPS)

  • The Federal BPS from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) applies to the 300,000 existing buildings owned by the U.S. government. It sets a 2030 goal for each federal agency to eliminate scope 1 emissions in 30% of its facilities. (White House Fact Sheet)

  • The Federal BPS “prioritiz[es] energy efficiency and the elimination of on-site fossil fuel use.” It is a stepping-stone toward the Biden administration’s ultimate goal of “net zero” emissions by 2045 across all federal facilities. (Exec. Order 14057, Dec. 8, 2021)

  • The Federal BPS’s “performance pathway” would achieve the goal for zero scope 1 emissions “through efficient electrification of all equipment and appliances.”

  • The Federal BPS also offers a “prescriptive pathway” for specific replacement of gas-fired furnaces and boilers. This alternate compliance route recognizes that “full decarbonization may not be practicable today” considering a building’s size and climate zone—and is designed to account for the market availability and cost-effectiveness of electrification equipment.

Relevance to Other GHG Standards

Energy.gov map of BPS
  • While the Federal BPS intends to reduce on-site scope 1 emissions, it will likely increase scope 2 emissions from electricity purchased by the federal government to power electric heat pumps, hot water heaters, and similar equipment.

  • Furthermore, the Federal BPS—and its focus to reduce fossil fuels on-site—might set an easier standard compared to a number of emerging BPS mandates at the state and municipal level.

  • Some local BPS laws may effectively require buildings to reduce overall GHG emissions at their source, which depends on whether local power grids provide “clean” electricity from solar, wind, or other renewable energy. EPA data that profiles “fuel mixes” used to generate electricity, however, indicate that coal, gas and other non-renewables account for 80 percent of the fuels that power electric grids nationally.

  • Also, local BPS laws may not offer a “prescriptive” compliance path similar to the Federal BPS that contemplates cost effectiveness in building electrification retrofits.

  • Notably, the Federal BPS sets no requirements for U.S.-owned buildings to reduce their upstream and downstream “scope 3” emissions outside of an owners’ control. (EPA website)

  • Possible measurement and reporting of scope 3 emissions has been a controversial element of a private sector, corporate GHG disclosure rule proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that has not yet been finalized. (Roundtable Weekly, June 10)

Other Building Policies  

Department of Energy sign

The White House’s announcements touted DOE’s Better Climate Challenge—a voluntary “pledge” that includes Roundtable members as “partners” who have committed to reduce portfolio-wide scopes 1 and 2 emissions by at least 50% within 10 years. The Roundtable is an “ally” supporting DOE’s Challenge. (Roundtable Weekly, March 4)

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CRE Industry Encouraged to Participate in Energy Department’s “Better Climate Challenge” to Reduce GHG Emissions

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, above, announced on Nov. 3  a “soft launch” of the multi-sector Better Climate Challenge at the COP26 international conference in Glasgow. This new Department of Energy (DOE) effort aims to recognize U.S. real estate, industrial, and other companies that voluntarily agree to slash their GHG emissions – and share their “best practices” toward achieving emissions reduction goals. (Climate Challenge Factsheet | FAQs | Informational webinar

Program Requirements 

  • The key element of DOE’s voluntary challenge is for companies to commit to reduce  direct emissions (“scope 1”), and emissions from electricity purchases (“scope 2”), by 50% over 10 years. There is no requirement to quantify or reduce indirect “scope 3” emissions.
  • The 10-year window is measured from a baseline of up to five years before a company joins the program.
  • Commitments to reduce emissions must be across a building portfolio.
  • Participating companies must also pursue an efficiency target, to prioritize energy savings that will contribute toward the 50% reduction in portfolio-wide emissions over a decade.
  • Companies joining the program must pledge to share energy and emissions data for 10 years through  EPA’s Portfolio Manager, publicly report on progress, participate in peer-to-peer exchanges, and help develop industry best practices.

Corporate Purchases of Clean Power

Better Climate Challenge logo

  • DOE staff discussed the new program yesterday with The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC).
  • DOE explained that to reach the 50% emissions reduction target, companies can tally their long-term clean power purchase agreements (PPA) and associated renewable energy certificates (RECs). PPAs and RECs are increasingly common strategies used by CRE and other sectors to help deliver more renewable energy to the electricity grid.
  • Staff further explained that it does not intend for certain carbon “offsets” (such as planting trees offsite) to count towards meeting the 50% emissions reduction target.

Partnership Agreements and Public Recognition

  • Companies that pledge to participate in the Better Climate Challenge must sign a partnership agreement with DOE.
  • DOE will work with organizations as they develop organization-wide GHG emissions reduction plans and provide technical assistance with meeting corporate goals.
  • DOE aims for the Challenge to develop and provide “alternative pathways” that present options for companies to set and achieve climate targets.

  • Organizations that have already made similar commitments are encouraged to reach out to DOE to discuss how they can participate. For example, DOE will accept pre-established corporate goals with an approved 1.5° Celsius aligned science-based target, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Aside from Wednesday’s “soft launch,” DOE plans further public recognition for participating companies during a formal launch slated for early 2022. DOE also intends to feature companies that participate in the Challenge at its next annual Better Buildings Summit in Washington, D.C. on May 17-19, 2022.
  • So far, 32 organizations have publicly pledged their commitment to the Better Climate Challenge as DOE elevates outreach out to private sector companies, states, municipalities and other organizations.

Contact the Department of Energy to Participate 

Modern buildings and American flag

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Roundtable Comments on “Model” Local Ordinance Proposing Efficiency and Emissions Requirements on Buildings

Honolulu

The Real Estate Roundtable submitted comments on April 6 regarding a “model” law developed for cities, counties, and states considering building “performance standards” for energy consumption and GHG emissions. 

Building Performance Standards (BPS): 

  • The model ordinance has been developed by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) – a D.C.-based policy organization that coordinates with state and local bodies on energy- and climate-related regulations. (IMT’s model ordinanceBPS resources, and blog post, Creating Real-Estate Friendly Building Performance Standards, Jan 21, 2021)
  • A task force of The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) convened to respond to IMT’s proposed law. According to the letter, a “whole-of-economy approach must drive businesses to take bolder actions within their control to minimize their carbon footprints while operating profitably, meeting investors’ demands, and equitably creating jobs in their communities.”
  • “Real estate developers, owners, managers, and financiers – along with building tenants, occupants, public buildings, and … the power supply, transportation, and manufacturing sectors – all have shared obligations to address climate change,” The Roundtable writes.

Roundtable Comments — Talking Points:

Bloomberg Center Cornell Tech campus

  1. BPS laws must rely on consistent standards, methods, and data that reflect the best available government and industry practices. Uniformity is critical to avoid a divergent “patchwork” of state and local laws that would unduly complicate building owners’ compliance and regulators’ enforcement.
  2. No BPS law should mandate building owners to reduce emissions from sources beyond their control.  Owners should not be saddled with responsibilities to “clean-up” the electric grid, district thermal systems, and other community-wide power infrastructure that they do not manage or control.
  3. Any BPS law should include financial assistance to help all regulated owners defray the significant capital expenses needed to bring buildings into compliance.
  4. BPS laws should encourage investments in existing buildings and allocate compliance burdens based on tenants’ and occupants’ energy usage.

  5. The least efficient buildings and communities are frequently the most distressed buildings and communities. Added regulatory costs from BPS mandates could disproportionately affect housing affordability and economically distressed neighborhoods on the “frontlines” of climate change.

Why It Matters: 

Leadership - RER's SPAC

  • “RER members must engage vigorously on climate and energy issues,” said SPAC Chair Anthony E. Malkin, above left, (Chairman, President and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). “We have the facts, the practice, and the experience to inform the thinking of cities, states, federal officials, and NGOs as they develop goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stride toward a clean energy economy. The field on which the game is played, and the rules themselves, are in constant flux. RER member engagement has never been more important to offer policy recommendations that create green jobs while modernizing U.S. buildings and power infrastructure.” 
  • “It is critical for Roundtable members to have a seat at the table as cities and states consider laws that set efficiency and emissions standards on buildings,” said SPAC Vice Chair, Daniel Egan, above right, (Senior Vice President, Vornado Realty Trust). “Policy makers must design climate programs that encourage owners to invest in their buildings to improve performance, while incentivizing our industry with market-based solutions that can help increase the nation’s supply of clean, renewable energy.”  

State and local jurisdictions have been marching forward with regulatory mandates on buildings to address energy and GHG emissions, which prompted The Roundtable to comment on IMT’s model ordinance. While Democrats in the House of Representatives have offered omnibus climate legislation with provisions that would affect U.S. real estate (see the CLEAN Future Act, H.R. 1512), it faces an uphill battle in the Senate. (Roundtable Weekly, March 5)   

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