In Focus

Election 2020:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

Massachusetts

2ND DISTRICT

James P. McGovern

Democratic

U.S. House, Massachusetts 2

Incumbent

 

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?

 

I believe that Congress should significantly increase funding for, and expand grant opportunities within, existing federal programs like the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program. But Congress must also set ambitious new standards for building codes that prioritize sustainability, embark on significant initiatives to retrofit existing buildings, expand access to renewable energy, and greatly increase federal R&D funding into new technologies and practices to achieve greater sustainability. It is also important to ensure that these codes and supplies ensure that the energy is "green" and that the water is "clean."

 

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

 

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?

 

I believe that every person in this country has a fundamental right to a life that is safe, healthy, affordable, and sustainable. I support creating new programs to provide rebates to homeowners for retrofitting and programs to expand access to distributed energy and community energy initiatives, including for renters. I also support new initiatives to train or retrain workers so that everyone can participate in our transition to a clean economy. Special attention must be paid to ensuring that historically disadvantaged communities not only are included as beneficiaries, but have substantive roles in identifying, designing and implementing programs for their communities.

 

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

 

Prioritizing sustainability is not just a scientific imperative. It is also a significant economic and social opportunity to create millions of good, green jobs while making sure that no community is left behind. I strongly support the establishment of ambitious new initiatives to support training programs through partnerships with nonprofits, associations, and universities. I support proposals like the HOPE for Homes Act, which would provide opportunities for contractors to engage in online training to increase their capabilities to sustainably retrofit homes.

 

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. Not only is it critical to work with the building sector in order to harness the expertise of skilled stakeholders, but it is also critical because Congress must recognize how sustainable building policy plays into other priorities, like addressing the climate crisis, building a 21st century workforce, and closing equity gaps in housing and healthy living. I will always have an open door policy for organizations, associations, community organizers, and individual constituents who wish to engage with my office on ideas for new legislation, to share concerns and to strengthen, expand and create new local coalitions to advance such transformations.

 

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.)?

 

Each year, I join a number of my colleagues in requesting that the House Appropriations Committee increase funding for federal initiatives tied to sustainable buildings, energy efficiency grant programs, research and development, and more. I also support a number of legislative proposals to vastly increase access to renewable energy and incorporate sustainability into requirements for federal buildings.

9TH DISTRICT

William R. Keating

Democratic

U.S. House, Massachusetts 9

Incumbent

 

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?

 

I believe the best way for the Federal government to reduce the carbon footprint of our buildings is to lead by example. The Federal government owns nearly 500,000 buildings covering 3.1 billion square feet. These buildings account for 0.4 percent of the nation’s energy usage and emit about 2 percent of its building-related greenhouse gases. We have the ability and responsibility to reduce these impacts.

 

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,

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

 

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?

 

When I return to office, I will continue to advocate that all families have access to clean affordable energy, and safe and sustainable housing. Recently, I supported and helped to see passed, H.R. 4447 the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. Among other provisions, this bill prioritizes low-income communities and communities of color by targeting projects to frontline communities, setting labor protections, and integrating environmental justice into the missions of federal agencies. We must continue to develop these types of polices in the coming years as sustainable building practices will be critical to achieving carbon neutrality and mitigating the effect of climate change.

 

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

 

My legislation, H.R. 3068 the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, will invest millions of dollars in training programs for the offshore wind industry. We must make similar investments in training in the solar, geothermal, and hydroelectrical industries. These investments will create millions of good-paying (union) jobs, that will not only create a new sustainable infrastructure but will allow us to compete in the future global economy.

 

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?

 

I will continue my policy of opening my door to my constituents about any issues that they value most. This including the members of the building trades. Green buildings cut wasteful energy consumption and curb the effects of global climate change. The construction and upkeep of buildings accounts for 36% of the world’s energy. When considering the energy that goes into producing the actual construction materials the share of emissions from buildings is even greater. Combating climate change is one of my top priorities in Congress. Working to make our buildings more efficient is an important aspect of achieving that goal.

 

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 recently passed Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act sets new efficiency building standards and authorizes funding to deploy energy-efficiency technologies in buildings and homes. Additionally, it invests significantly in the research and development of advanced energy and emission reduction technologies. Further, I cosponsored H.R.762, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act. This bill directs the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to act as the lead agency for coordinating and disseminating information on existing programs and assistance that may be used to help initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy retrofitting projects for schools.

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.)

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