In Focus

Election 2020:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

Iowa

SENATE

Suzanne Herzog

Independent

U.S. Senate, Iowa

 

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?

 

Create enduring economic incentives through carefully crafted legislation that offers tax incentives and grants to well-substantiated evidence based renovation and building practices. Increasing market incentives to decrease environmental impact of cement production can be bolstered by including thoughtful provisions in legislative proposals such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or by sponsoring new legislation. As a social scientist and long-time public health advocate, I will remain receptive to proposals from industry experts for the most beneficial and sustainable, efficient and practical solutions.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

a. Set benchmarking requirements for commercial buildings and encourage cities and states to adopt performance-based standards for buildings,

b. Provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements,

c. Provide incentives to states and localities to adopt the most up-to-date energy building codes,

d. Renew and expand tax incentives for energy efficient buildings,

e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets,

f. Provide support to states and localities to make buildings more resilient from natural hazards and disasters,

g. Invest in the retrofitting of schools, community centers, libraries and other civic buildings to improve occupant safety and reduce energy consumption, especially in underserved communities,

h. Conduct research into the most promising technologies, products and materials that improve occupant health and reduce transmission of contagious disease while saving energy,

i. I agree with my partner, Jim's suggestion to retrofit government building for solar panels without jeopardizing their historical significance.

 

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?

 

Increased regulation for landlords to comply with high standards of healthy interior materials with less toxins. The public health implications of this are vast and enduring- legislation to address it should be comprehensive and enduring as well. Establishing economic incentives to change behavior is essential in crafting such legislation. Effective regulatory action requires enough resources/funding and provisions for monitoring, enforcement and support for compliance.

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

Education and training grants could be created and targeted to meet the most urgent industry needs to advance these objectives. "Build for America" mentorships could be supported with federal loan forgiveness programs somewhat like "Teach for America" or "Report for America" (support of independent journalists) programs. Here in Iowa we have demonstrated green energy industry adaptability that has made our state a leader in training wind energy technicians. We will continue to lead in areas of installation of "green"/energy conserving building products as well.

 

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?

 

Absolutely. As one of very few independent/non-partisan Senators in Congress- I will be well-positioned to advance bipartisan collaborative efforts on this front. I will do everything I can to promote more thoughtful, sustainable building practices- not only to help meet my obligations to promote public health, safety and environmental protection, but as an economist- I want my state leads the way in realizing economic gains on this front. Iowa is ripe with plenty of infrastructure that needs replacement and we have endless opportunities to move in a new direction.

 

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.)?

 

I am an economist with decades of experience in healthcare. At great expense I made sure to install a geothermal system in a home I had built in 2004 even though I knew that because of the size of the home- the additional cost would likely take more than 5 years to pay for itself in actual utility cost reduction. When this state-of -the-art unit failed and the manufacturer and warrantee-company that covered it went out of business- I persevered with my objectives and replaced the unit with an even more technologically advanced and reliable geothermal unit. In 2008 I worked at the U.S. Census Bureau building in Washington, D.C. (actually near Suitland, Maryland) which I understand was recognized as an example of energy-efficient and new building materials technological advancement at that time. As an economist who has worked with several federal statistical government agencies during my economics program, I know how to compile and present related supporting data from EIA, BLS, BEA, Census and advanced university research resources to substantiate and support any related legislative proposals. I also worked with FEMA in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and can provide first-hand observations to support practical proposals that take potential natural disasters and the implications of building in higher-risk areas into account.

Rick Stewart

Libertarian

U.S. Senate, Iowa

 

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?

 

Implement a universal carbon tax. In areas with water shortages, a water tax.

 

2. WHICH OF THESE SUSTAINABLE BUILDING POLICIES DO YOU SUPPORT AND WOULD WORK TO ENACT IF ELECTED?

 

e. Require federal buildings to meet aggressive energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets, Institute a carbon tax. Building owners will then have an incentive to do all of the above. Economists agree a carbon tax is the most efficient way to achieve these goals (see William Nordhaus, Nobel Prize Winner). Any extra expense should be paid by the building owner, including buildings owned by Federal, State and local governments. The building owners will reap the rewards of this through lower operating costs.

 

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?

 

A carbon tax is the most efficient option. I would issue an annual Universal Carbon Tax Rebate (same amount to every person) that would refund all the revenues from the carbon tax to all Americans, on a per capita basis. Less wealthy Americans will receive a check bigger than the amount of carbon tax they pay, wealthy Americans will pay more in carbon tax than the amount of the UCTR.

 

4.         IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?

 

I do not believe the Federal government is capable of training people for any job at all. This should be left to State, or even better local, governments.

 

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?

 

Yes. I will promote a carbon tax, and a UCTR.

 

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.)?

 

The company I founded in 1976 built only LEED certified buildings, however I retired in 1999. My home is about as efficient as any home built in 1909 can be, as I have retrofitted the entire home during my 42 years of ownership.

BuildingAction does not endorse candidates in primary or general elections. Nothing in this report should be construed as support or opposition to any candidate. Candidates and parties are listed alphabetically. BuildingAction made every effort to report on candidates’ positions accurately; any mistakes or omissions were inadvertent. Please email info@agoragov.com with any suggested corrections.)

Copyright 2020, BuildingAction. All rights reserved.