Roundtable Weekly
Roundtable Interview with US-EPA Administrator Covers ENERGY STAR, Coronavirus Guidance, and Brownfields Redevelopment in Opportunity Zones
October 3, 2020
Jeffrey DeBoer and Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, above right, met yesterday with Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO, Jeffrey D. DeBoer, above left, to discuss a wide range of energy and environmental policy matters that impact the U.S. real estate sector.  (Video on Roundtable’s YouTube page) DeBoer interviewed Wheeler at The Roundtable’s offices in Washington, D.C., as part of a series of “listening sessions” between EPA and stakeholders.  Their discussion covered:
  • EPA’s development of a standardized process to systematically calculate the economic costs and environmental benefits of its regulatory programs (video at 3:29);
  • A “science transparency” regulation that makes the scientific studies relied upon by EPA available to the public (video at 4:56);
  • Wheeler’s implementation of a “lean management” system to streamline the agency’s procedures for project permitting and environmental reviews (video at 8:15);
Energy Star Tenant Space logo
  • ENERGY STAR building ratings, and EPA’s corollary Tenant Space program that will launch on October 13.  Wheeler stated he is a “strong” ENERGY STAR proponent, expanding the program to cover tenant spaces was “the right thing to do” – and that these platforms must remain voluntary to spur technological innovations deployed in buildings and manufacturing. ( video at 12:40);
  • EPA’s development of COVID-related guidance to help the economy re-open, such as updated Portfolio Manager benchmarking instructions to account for recent changes in building occupancy and hours of operations, EPA’s approvals of cleaning and disinfecting products to combat COVID-19, and information on flushing pipes and plumbing systems to maintain indoor water quality (see, e.g., Roundtable Weekly, July 31, 2020 and May 22, 2020) (video at 15:45)
  • Public-private partnerships to re-develop Brownfield sites in economically-distressed “opportunity zones” created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Wheeler remarked that every dollar EPA invests in a Brownfields clean-up leverages up to an estimated $20 dollars in private sector investment capital for surrounding low-income neighborhoods. ( video at 18:40)
  • Also yesterday, EPA career staff spoke to The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) regarding the imminent launch of the ENERGY STAR Tenant Space program on October 13.  Opportunities to certify high performance design and construction of leased office spaces will become a permanent EPA offering, and stem from the so-called “Tenant Star” law Congress passed in 2015 with the Roundtable’s strong backing.  (Commercial Property Executive, May 4, 2015)
The Roundtable participates in EPA’s Smart Sectors Program, the agency’s platform to collaborate with industry sectors to protect the environment and public health though sensible, cost-effective regulatory and incentive programs.  (EPA news release, Oct. 3, 2017) #  #  #