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Real Estate Roundtable Applauds House Vote on Bill to Spur Energy Efficiency in Leased Commercial Space

  • April 21, 2015
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Real Estate Roundtable commends today’s House passage of “Tenant Star” legislation that will foster energy efficiency in leased commercial space, thus addressing a critical piece of the energy efficiency equation in commercial buildings, and helping to curb greenhouse gases while boosting innovation and the U.S. economy.

With Tenant Star already cleared by the Senate on March 27, the legislation can now be sent to the White House for President Obama’s anticipated signature.

     The bill authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to create a voluntary “Tenant Star” program modeled after the highly successful, market-based ENERGY STAR program. Once it is signed into law — and implementing guidelines are written — “Tenant Star” will provide national branding recognition to property owners and tenant teams that design, construct and operate highly energy efficient spaces within commercial buildings.

     The House-passed bill tracks legislation long championed by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO)  in the upper chamber (“Tenant Star” also cleared the Senate as an amendment to Keystone XL pipeline legislation earlier this year).  The key House sponsors, Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT), previously won overwhelming House passage (375-36) in March 2014 and pursued approval again today to ensure that both sides of Capitol Hill passed “Tenant Star” in the same congressional session.

     Empire State Realty Trust (NYSE: ESRT) Chairman, President and CEO Anthony E. Malkin, who chairs The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC), said, “Tenant Star is a voluntary program — with no federal mandate or cost — that will encourage commercial tenants and landlords to design and construct leased spaces in office buildings to achieve high levels of energy performance.”

     With office tenants often accounting for over 50 percent of the energy consumed in an office building, he explained, “Tenant Star will encourage office tenants to incorporate into the construction of their leased premises common sense, cost-effective measures that yield excellent returns on investment over short pay-back periods.” 

     Added Malkin, “Tenants will favor landlords whose buildings can support such installations. Broad adoption will save businesses billions of dollars on energy costs in the coming years. The reduced consumption will afford savings in future capital outlays for energy generation and related infrastructure.”

     Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey D. DeBoer said, “‘Tenant Star’ is a ‘triple win’ that will spur the economy by creating jobs, enhancing energy security, and preserving our environment by cutting greenhouse gases. It will boost innovation in the real estate sector and go a long way toward ensuring that our country’s commercial and multifamily stock — and the separate spaces leased within them — are at the vanguard of advances in technology and energy conservation. The ‘Tenant Star’ program will allow building owners to attract financiers, investors, and tenants in the increasingly competitive national and global markets for real estate.”

 

     The Real Estate Roundtable supports legislation that encourages energy efficiency and energy production as components of an “all of the above” national energy policy.

“We look forward to our continued work with Congress and the Obama Administration to ultimately sign ‘Tenant Star’ into law,” DeBoer said. “Meanwhile, we continue working to advance broadly supported measures that  strive to balance economic growth with complementary polices to foster environmental stewardship.” 

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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 12 billion square feet of office, retail and industrial properties valued at more than $1 trillion; over 1.5 million apartment units; and in excess of 2.5 million hotel rooms.  Participating trade associations represent more than 1.5 million people involved in virtually every aspect of the real estate business.
 
About Empire State Realty Trust:  Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT), a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, manages, operates, acquires and repositions office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area, including the Empire State Building, the world’s most famous office building. Headquartered in New York City, the company’s office and retail portfolio covers 10.0 million rentable square feet, as of Dec. 31, 2014, consisting of 9.3 million rentable square feet in 14 office properties, including nine in Manhattan, three in Fairfield County, Conn., and two in Westchester County, N.Y.; and approximately 728,000 rentable square feet in the retail portfolio.