In Focus

Election 2020:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

3RD DISTRICT

George Santos

Republican

U.S. House, New York 3

 

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 a system in which we can track and monitor the systems that are in place, set baselines and benchmarks for performance, and put a system in place to analyze the data in order to see what is working to make more things energy-efficient.

 

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,

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?

 

Fund public buildings and community centers to equip them with the most up-to-date, energy-efficient tech.

 

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

 

Invest in research and provide incentives to businesses who train their employees on energy-efficient ideas and jobs.

 

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 listen to and meet with the building sector and local building advocacy groups to ensure that their ideas are brought to the table.

 

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.)?

Did not answer

 

6TH DISTRICT

Thomas J. Zmich

Republican

U.S. House, New York 6

 

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?

 

Working with the building industry to improve and research new products and applications

 

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

 

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

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

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?

 

look into new technologies

 

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

 

partner with union apprentice programs

 

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?

 

no

 

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.)?

 

yes , construction management

 

8TH DISTRICT

Hakeem S. Jeffries

Democratic

U.S. House, New York 8

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?

 

Congress should legislate to support better building standards and provide incentives and requirements that focus on sustainability. Congress should support existing programs that focus on making improvements to support energy efficiency and updating current infrastructure to transition to clean energy. Congress should also set benchmarks for energy use.

 

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 will support programs that help all Americans, including low-income Americans, benefit from energy efficient buildings. I will advocate for policies that invest in weatherization and electrification of existing buildings, as well as supporting aggressive building standards for new buildings. I would continue to support HUD and DOE programs that assist public housing entities move towards sustainability.

 

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 will support legislation that focuses on training our current workforce as well as creating programs looking to the future workforce in skills that help advance sustainability. That includes STEM education and technical education programming that helps set the next generation up to participate in a green economy. I will also work with my colleagues to identify public private partnerships to help advance that goal. I believe that sustainable buildings and sustainable building components are crucial in the fight against climate change, so it is imperative that Congress do what it can to meet this goal.

 

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--in order to craft sound policies that work practically, those with the subject matter expertise in this area must be consulted and involved in the process.

 

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 have supported legislation on sustainable buildings, including H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act which included provisions on improved building standards.

 

10TH DISTRICT

Jerrold Nadler

Democratic

U.S. House, New York 10

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?

 

To help reduce the energy and water consumption of buildings to make them more sustainable, Congress must push back against actions to delay or roll back energy efficiency standards and invest heavily in energy and water efficiency technologies. Congress must also work to support rebates and incentives that encourage investment in energy efficiency improvements, and ensure that public buildings lead the way on energy efficiency.

I am proud to have fought against the Administration’s actions to delay or rollbacks energy efficiency standards, and the President’s proposed a 75 percent cut to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The EERE works to increase the generation of electric power from renewable sources and improve the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings.

Additionally, I am proud to have led the New York State Congressional Delegation in pushing back against a draft White House executive order, which would have damaged the federal government’s ability to achieve energy-efficient and sustainable federal buildings across our country. Increasing the energy efficiency of our federal buildings saves taxpayers dollars, creates jobs, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 

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,

i. Protect and expand federal energy efficiency standards that reduce energy waste, create jobs, encourage innovation, and support the efficient use of energy by appliances and equipment in U.S. homes and buildings.

 

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 price of energy and water expenses impacts low-income households. Low-income households are also disproportionally affected by the severe impacts of climate change. Congress has taken several necessary steps to address this issue, and I am proud to be a leader on this issue.

I am proud to co-lead the House’s annual appropriation effort to fund the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program. The Weatherization Assistance Program retrofits single-family homes for people who live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and saves families an average of nearly $300 per year. Over the past 40 years, the program has provided services to over 7.4 million households.

The State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to states to enhance energy efficiency initiatives. The funding in this program helps state governments improve the energy efficiency of schools, libraries, community centers, and other civic buildings.

Throughout my time in office, I have been a strong supporter of providing tax rebates and other incentives to households that invest in energy efficiency improvements, particularly low-income households. I support strengthening and expanding the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction, the Energy Efficient New Home Tax Credit, the Residential Energy-Efficiency Tax Credit, and the Energy Efficient New Home Tax Credit.

I am also a proud supporter of the House-passed Moving Forward Act, which enhances existing tax incentives for clean energy and encourage residential investments in energy efficiency and conservation.

 

 

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 am a proud supporter of the House-passed Moving Forward Act, which includes more than $70 billion in funding for clean energy. This funding will create hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs and significantly expand the renewable energy sector by providing new tax incentives for energy and efficiency projects that engage in fair labor practices.

 

The Moving Forward Act also includes a strong investment in skills training to support new clean energy jobs.

 

Throughout the pandemic, I have fought for a green jobs stimulus to support clean energy jobs and job training and invest in clean energy infrastructure and technology. I will continue to fight for clean energy jobs.

 

 

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?

 

Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked closely with Building Action and High-Performance Building Coalition Members on many issues. We share the same goal of increasing energy and water efficiency in the built environment, ensuring all Americans can benefit from energy efficiency, and promoting clean energy.

 

I will continue to work closely with High-Performance Building Coalition Members and my colleagues in the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus to fight for sustainable building policies.

 

 

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.)?

 

As I mentioned in my previous answers, I have supported legislative efforts to push back against the Administration’s actions to delay or roll back energy efficiency standards. I also have a strong history of supporting tax credits that encourage investment in energy efficiency. Finally, I have co-lead the fight to secure funding for critical Department of Energy programs that enable states and low-income households to invest in energy efficiency improvements. Increasing the efficiency of buildings will create jobs, save money, and help reduce waste. I will continue to fight to support green buildings.

 

12TH DISTRICT

Carolyn Maloney

Democratic

U.S. House, New York 12

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?

 

Congress can help with funding, tax credits, employment credits, benchmarking requirements, regulations on environmental protections and more. As a proud co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, I am committed to transformative change in all areas of our economy and way of life in pursuit of ending the climate crisis.

 

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?

 

As an original co-sponsor on the Green New Deal, I am fully committed to a just environmental and economic recovery. This includes passing legislation like the Green New Deal for Public Housing, which would ensure our public housing residents are able to benefit from improvements to their buildings, as well as ensuring green jobs in the building trades. More broadly, Congress should be passing legislation that ensures low-income communities have access to grants and other government programs, much as we passed reforms to the PPP that set aside funding for lenders who could get that money to women- and minority-owned businesses.

 

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

 

As an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, I know that its passage is critical to rebuilding our economy, and that it will not be possible to recognize the GND’s goals without retraining and employment transitions. We must not just provide funding for training, but work with employers to create internships and apprenticeships both for those entering the workforce as well as those transitioning away from previous, fossil-fuel-related work.

 

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; we need the input of those who work in this field in order to make informed decisions. I will meet with and discuss policy and its potential implications, including pitfalls and solutions to create sustainable building practices.

 

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.)?

 

Yes.

 

15TH DISTRICT

Ritchie Torres

Democratic

U.S. House, New York 15

 

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?

 

Growing up in NYCHA, I have seen firsthand the results of decades of disinvestment by the Federal government. We can use public housing as a model and build sustainably (solar, green roofs, etc.) to help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents in nyc public housing.

 

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?

 

In the Council, much of what we do is the administration of Federal programs. When it comes to housing, the programs that come to mind are Section, 8, Section 9, and LIHTC. These are all Federal programs in nature and if you are on a mission to uplift the lives of residents in what is said to be the poorest Congressional district in America, you need to be a legislator on the federal level because that is where the rules are set. Come January, I will advocate for a much needed infusion of federal dollars into housing to help address the affordability crisis the Bronx is facing while at the same time building sustainably to help mitigate the effects 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?

 

Public housing (NYCHA) in NYC can be a model for the rest of the country if we retrofit public housing to make it sustainable. This will also pave the way for green jobs in the Bronx, where we have hit a 25% unemployment rate post-COVID.

 

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. As a member of the City Council for 7 years, I have worked with the building sector to transform buildings in the Bronx. I will continue to work together with the Building sector as part of a coalition when in Congress.

 

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.)?

 

LEGISLATION ENACTED:

1. Improving Mold Abatement: Passed law to set standards for mold abatement in residential buildings, and require training and licensing for mold removal.

2. Clean Water: Passed law to improve inspection and cleaning of water tanks to ensure clean water is delivered to residential buildings.

3. Phase Out Dirty Oil: Passed law to require the phasing out of dirty oil used by power plants to generate energy in homes.

4. Improving Lead Paint Removal: Passed law to improve lead removal protocols and require home improvement contractors to be EPA-certified.

On NYCHA:

I supported energy-efficiency improvements to public housing through the installation of energy-saving lightbulbs, solar panels, and other technology to ensure cost-saving for residents.

ENDORSEMENTS:

In both 2018 and 2019, I received a perfect 100% on the NY League of Conservation Voters' Environmental Scorecard for supporting and sponsoring legislation related to sustainability, energy conservation and efficiency. NYLCV stated: "Throughout his time as an NYC Council Member, Torres oversaw the New York City Housing Authority to create affordable and safe housing for residents of NYC. If elected to Congress, Torres will continue to work with affordable housing."

 

19TH DISTRICT

Steven Greenfield

Green Party

U.S. House, New York 19

 

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 support the Green New Deal -- not the Markey/AOC/Democrat one, but the original Green Party Green New Deal whose name, but not the program, they co-opted. Our program contains strong building construction and retrofitting components, and revenue streams to support them.

Much existing building stock, as well as new construction, is under direct public control at the federal, state, and local level. Direct support for energy efficiency, on-site power generation, heat pumps, cogeneration, heat loss analysis and remediation, sustainable building materials, and human health and emergency safety, including removal of all carbon monoxide and particulate generating systems, for public housing, office buildings, transportation facilities, schools, emergency services stations, military bases -- all public structures, on a five year timetable, and full green standards for all new construction. All retrofitting of existing structures, and building to new green code in the private sector financed through aggressive subsidies, rebates, and tax exemptions. 100% of existing employee training costs publicly financed, and permanent green tech engineering, manufacturing, and installation curricula in public schools, community colleges, union apprenticeships, and advanced research at private and university labs fully financed.

This is no "shot in the arm." My program is permanent, and to be provided with permanent funding and goal development and implementation, no different from the military -- for we are most assuredly facing a threat far in excess of anything we imagine the military may need to confront.

 

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. Development of renewable & sustainable construction and systems materials.

 

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?

 

If any of this work is left dependent on ability to pay, it's not going to happen -- it will be virtue-signaling, and not problem-solving. That was true before the pandemic, and with so many people unemployed, insecure about future income, and if they still have any savings, unwilling to spend them out of concerns over loss of future income, all subsidies must be income sensitive. Low income people and property owners will need the construction costs paid outright. People with incomes and savings might do well with tax breaks.

 

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

 

100% of existing employee training costs publicly financed, and permanent green tech engineering, manufacturing, and installation curricula in public schools, community colleges, union apprenticeships, and advanced research at private and university labs fully financed.

This is no "shot in the arm." My program is permanent, and to be provided with permanent funding and goal development and implementation, no different from the military -- for we are most assuredly facing a threat far in excess of anything we imagine the military may need to confront.

 

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 seek out construction policy advocates in the business and trades unions, academia, and advocate to other members of Congress in relevant committees, as well as tap into the media and the public's use of social media to make the matter prominent.

 

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.)?

 

Yes. I served two terms, for a total of six years, on the Board of Education of the New Paltz Central School District, and I was on the Facilities Committee for that whole time, and chaired it for four years. I ran for School Board specifically because a major construction project was needed, and seemingly not being developed well by the existing board. I insisted on the lowest possible carbon footprint, as well as the highest possible safety. Our first attempt at putting the bond before the public did not carry, but when a second proposal was being developed, I ran a second time to make some changes I knew would help the bond pass, and I was elected, and the bond passed. As chair of the facilities committee I was responsible for the scope of the green components, and selecting project management and general contractors to implement the whole project, which is now nearing completion. I'm also a firefighter, and secretary of our department, which has included participation with the development of a new firehouse proposal, including energy efficiency, construction now about to start. I continue to serve the School Board on its Legislative Action Committee, and I also serve the fire department as its delegate to our county and statewide legislative advocacy organizations. From those seats I have promoted green legislation, and will continue to do so -- but I'd be much more effective if I were in Congress.

 

20TH DISTRICT

Paul D. Tonko

Democratic

U.S. House, New York 20

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?

 

Our roads and bridges aren’t the only parts of our national infrastructure that are in

immediate need of repair and replacement. Our buildings, both public and private, also are long overdue for retrofitting and other energy efficiency installations. Congress should continue to increase standards of energy and water consumption, but cannot hamstring owners or local governments while doing so. Robust resources must be made available to incentivize owners to bring their properties into the 21st century, and the nation must commit to serious and sustained research and development that makes these improvements more affordable for years to come

 

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 ran for Congress because our nation had no clear energy policy. That lack of an effort to move away from fossil fuels and improve the quality of our environment

disproportionately affects vulnerable communities of color and lower socioeconomic status. Any solutions outlined in the questions above must be applied with a priority placed on communities with the most need.

 

 

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

 

As a nation, we must get out of the mindset that we have to choose between a

prosperous economy and a thriving environment. The two can go hand in hand by

instituting national training programs that retrain people from lagging industries with new skills that can place them in quality “green-collar” jobs.

 

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, my service on several caucuses and committees uniquely position my office and me to continue to advocate for sustainable building policies. I serve as the Chairman of the Environment & Climate Change Subcommittee (Energy & Commerce), the co-chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC), and a member of the House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus, the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, among other related groups. We view the built environment as one of the most important sectors to achieving 100% clean energy no later than 2050.

 

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.)?

 

Just this year, I fought for $27 billion in the House-passed infrastructure package to improve the energy efficiency, health and resilience of buildings. This funding focused on homes, schools and other public buildings. The package also reauthorized DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program to support local governments’ clean energy priorities. This is just one of countless pieces of legislation I have and will continue to fight for.

 

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