House Committee Passes Roundtable-Supported Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act
EPA Seeks Building Owners’ Input on Whole-Building Energy Data
Roundtable Members Featured in Commercial Observer’s “Power 100” List of 2024 Most Influential Leaders in CRE
Roundtable Weekly
May 17, 2024
House Committee Passes Roundtable-Supported Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act
House Financial Services Committee

Yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee passed the bipartisan Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act, which would help eliminate discriminatory land use policies and remove barriers to production of affordable housing. The Roundtable and 17 other national organizations submitted a letter of strong support for the bill the day before the committee mark-up. (Coalition letter, May 15 | Committee news release and video of committee mark-up, May 16)

Affordable Housing

  • The YIMBY Act (H.R. 3507) requires recipients of certain federal grants to submit public reports about their implementation of certain land-use policies, such as policies for expanding high-density single-family and multifamily zoning. The reports must detail how federal grant recipients are removing discriminatory land use policies and other barriers to constructing affordable housing, while promoting inclusive and affordable housing.
  • Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) expressed his support for the legislation during the May 16 mark-up. Previously, the YIMBY Act passed the House without opposition in 2020 but stalled in the Senate (S. 1688).

Roundtable Support

  • The Real Estate Roundtable and 21 other national organizations also expressed their strong support for the bipartisan bill in February to the House Financial Services Committee (Coalition letter, Feb. 20, 2024)
  • The Roundtable joined another coalition of 285 housing, business, and municipal organizations last year in a letter of support when the YIMBY Act was reintroduced. (Roundtable Weekly, May 26, 2023 and coalition letter)
  • Separately, the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 20, 2024) reported that community opposition to new projects is not just restricted to housing developments. E-Commerce hubs are also “increasingly contending with a headache” of NIMBY sentiments, as developers of warehouse and logistics properties face the conundrum of siting projects that are necessary to deliver goods to residents and consumers. (“Don’t Build That E-Commerce Warehouse in My Backyard, More Communities Say”)   

Next week, a House Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Green Building Policies: Jeopardizing the American Dream of Homeownership.” The May 22 hearing will focus on excessive regulations that constrict housing supply, including a recent Biden administration “final determination” that all new single- and multifamily homes financed with federal mortgages must be built to stringent “model energy codes.”  (Roundtable Weekly, May 3)

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EPA Seeks Building Owners’ Input on Whole-Building Energy Data

A new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) campaign seeks to assist building owners in obtaining data from utilities on energy used by tenants in leased spaces. Stakeholders are encouraged to complete EPA’s brief Whole-Building Energy Data survey by Friday, June 7.

Access to Whole-Building Data is Critical

  • A challenge shared by owners and managers across the CRE industry is obtaining leased space energy data particularly where tenants operate under “triple-net” (NNN) leases and pay their electricity, gas, and other power bills directly to utilities.
  • Difficulties accessing whole-building energy data are acute in multifamily, offices, retail, logistics, life sciences, and any building type that leases spaces to numerous tenants.
  • Nonetheless, owners are expected to capture data on tenants’ energy use as a simple matter of proper building management, and for myriad policy and regulatory reasons such as:
  • Reports to investors and lenders, including disclosures to the US-SEC and state agencies;
  • Attaining voluntary certifications such as EPA’s ENERGY STAR and NextGen building “labels”; and
  • Qualifying for the 179D tax deduction for building retrofits enacted by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. [Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 20, 2023 and  IRA fact sheet, July 31, 2023]

Roundtable Advocacy

  • The Roundtable supported a Jan. 18 open letter from leaders of the EPA, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Energy (DOE) to utilities and their regulatory commissions about the national importance of obtaining tenant-level consumption data.
  • The Roundtable also submitted comments to EPA on Jan. 20 that emphasized how utilities should be eligible for EPA grants to develop technologies that provide owners of multi-tenant assets with whole-building energy data.

EPA’s Campaign

  • EPA has posted online tools including a “Multitenant Buildings and Federal Incentives” fact sheet. This resource explains the importance of whole-building data to building owners (with a focus on federal funding opportunities requiring this data), as well as solutions available to utilities to provide the data.
  • More than 90% of utilities currently do not provide whole-building energy use data. (See EPA’s data access map.) The EPA campaign aims to:
  • Gather input from building owners and others on where they need this data most and why, via the survey.
  • Create resources that support building owners in engaging utilities nationwide, including a summary of the survey’s input.
  • Organize meetings between utilities and building owners in priority locations to facilitate discussion.
  • EPA will support utilities that are interested in providing the data in line with industry best practices.

EPA’s campaign will be among the topics discussed during The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) Meeting on June 21 in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with the RER’s all-member Annual Meeting on June 20.

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Roundtable Members Featured in Commercial Observer’s “Power 100” List of 2024 Most Influential Leaders in CRE
Commercial Observer's Power 100 list for 2024

This week, the publication Commercial Observer released their “Power 100” list of prominent industry influencers, which includes Real Estate Roundtable Chair-Elect Kathleen McCarthy (Global Co-Head of Blackstone Real Estate, Blackstone), Chairman Emeritus (2015-2018) William C. Rudin (Co-Executive Chairman, Rudin), Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, and nearly 30 other Roundtable members. (Power 100 2024 – Commercial Observer)

CRE Industry Leadership

  • Commercial Observer notes that the industry has been through a great deal of turbulence this year. "For better or worse, the biggest cliché that seeped into the commercial real estate conversation over the last year was: ‘Survive until ’25.’ This year’s honorees have shown the pluck, the determination, and the fortitude to make their ways onto this list.” (Power 100 2024 – Commercial Observer)
  • The article also notes how The Roundtable effectively represents the industry while partnering with 18 national trade associations to educate Washington, D.C. policymakers on national issues impacting the industry.

The Roundtable’s Role

Commercial Observer's Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in CRE for 2024
  • DeBoer comments within his profile, “Helping federal regulators understand the whiplash of very quickly moving from the historically long period of artificially low interest rates to a much higher interest rate environment was critical to the flexibility they ultimately provided to banks to modify or extend a great deal of the roughly $1 trillion in maturing commercial real estate loans.”
  • He also notes that significant stress on CRE remains, especially the pressures of remote work. Yet, “a systemic crisis for the banking industry and real estate markets seems to have been averted,” DeBoer states. (See DeBoer’s listing)

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