Where Candidates for Congress Stand
U.S. House, Hawaii 2
1. WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS THAT CONGRESS CAN HELP TO REDUCE THE ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION OF BUILDINGS TO HELP MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE?
Provide scaled and targeted tax credits for certain regions that are experiencing significant water and/or power grid stress. Those credits could be used for retrofitting efficient systems in existing buildings, and installing into new buildings. Industry building experts should be consulted to accurately quantify energy and water conservation and to make recommendations.
2. WHICH SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?
An issue which is occurring is a large transfer of wealth from one energy sector to another. I think for a healthy and beneficial system, we need diversity. A mix of unreliable (wind, solar, hydro) power and reliable (natural gas, fossil fuels, nuclear) power would be beneficial. When our country tends to rely on only one source of energy, that is when our country runs into trouble, both economically and environmentally.
3. IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO ENSURE THAT ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ARE ABLE TO BENEFIT FROM HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS?
The approach outline in question one covers this, basically we want to see efficiency of tax dollars for the American people. This is an area where industry expertise can serve well — scaling credits in economically impacted urban areas, in particular, may enable the retrofit of aging and inefficient building systems. Ensuring all Americans benefit from healthy and sustainable buildings, regardless of socioeconomic status, is a complex problem and would take considerable analysis to ensure that credits or subsidies are directed in an efficient and impactful way.
4. IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?
The best preparation for any job is training. One thing which does need to be noted, with any and all adjustments and migrations from one energy source to another, there should be a period of time allocated where both sources are online at the same time. This crossover period allows for the training of staff, working out any inefficiencies, and mitigating any issues with the new technology. Once staff is trained, and the new source proven to work, the migration to wholly relying on the new source can occur. What is currently happening in my home state, that the government shutdown an energy plant without having a reliable or usable source as a backup. This rushed action puts residents in peril unnecessarily.
5. ARE YOU WILLING TO WORK WITH THE BUILDING SECTOR TO MAKE SURE THAT TRANSFORMING BUILDINGS IS PART OF THE POLICY DEBATE IN CONGRESS, INCLUDING JOINING CAUCUSES THAT ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES? IF YES, HOW WILL YOU DO THAT?
The debate over sustainable building practices has been debated repeatedly in Congress for over a decade. Many private companies have taken up the banner of sustainable building, like SageGlass, Kai Ridge Construction, Green Homes Hawaii, Johnson Controls, and General Electric. Private industry can innovate faster than government can mandate.
6. DO YOU HAVE ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS (E.G., SUPPORTING LEGISLATION IN ELECTED OFFICE, MADE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS TO A HOME, OFFICE, COMMUNITY-WIDE, ETC.)?
At the heart of sustainability is being good stewards of the resources we currently have. To be honest, the government could adopt protocols and force people to follow them. However for a lasting, meaningful increase to sustainability there must be a shift in mindset. It can be as simplified as finding multiple uses for a food item or utilizing an hydronet. It can be as complex as a LEED building. One thing my team and I are committed to doing is planting 100 trees in the first 100 days of my term. There’s an ‘Olelo No‘eau, Hahai no ka ua i ka ululā‘au; rains will alway follow the forest. It’s all of our kuleana to be good stewards.
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