In Focus

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Election 2022:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

Pennsylvania

1st District

11th District

1ST DISTRICT

Ashley Ehasz

Democratic

U.S. House, Pennsylvania 1

 

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?

 

The United States is in desperate need of more housing and commercial buildings. Nearly every trade association in the industry agrees that we are dangerously under capacity, and this provides a great opportunity to accelerate the use of more sustainable building techniques that reduce the carbon footprint of new construction and reduce energy consumption. This will both help the United States reach its critical climate goals, and ultimately reduce costs for consumers. Congress must provide effective tax incentives for new construction that are predicated on employing technologies and techniques that reduce energy and water consumption. For existing structures, we must expand upon the successful water and energy modernization grants contained within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and continue to provide the means to property owners and municipalities to modernize their water and grid systems to reduce energy and water consumption.

 

2. WHICH 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. Support programs or incentives to accelerate the electrification of 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?

 

In Congress, I would fight to ensure that grants and tax incentives would be distributed equitably, ensuring that communities that are most suffering from pollution and other externalities receive the necessary support to improve their air and water quality. 

 

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 climate crisis presents an incredible opportunity to foster new economic growth here in Pennsylvania and across the country. Green energy jobs can be incentivized through partnerships between federal, state, and local governments. As a representative, I will push to end our reliance on fossil fuels, to include our military’s reliance upon them, and fight for increased protections for our water, land, and air. I will also advocate for more federal funds to be allocated to researching new technologies that can solve the challenges posed by climate change, and push for those dollars to return to communities like mine that have significant expertise in energy systems, and house world-class research institutions that can tackle the crisis.

 

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 gladly meet with your members and listen to their expertise as we consider legislation. 

 

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 a soldier, I did not have specific experience with sustainable building advocacy. However, as a commander, I was acutely aware of the need to conserve resources on the battlefield, and my experience informs my thinking regarding transitioning our military towards more sustainable energy use policies, while maintaining readiness.

 

11TH DISTRICT

Bob Hollister

Democratic

U.S. House, Pennsylvania 11

 

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 pass bills such as H.R.4542 - Energy Efficient Public Buildings Act of 2021, which requires the DOE to provide grants to states and municipalities in order to make improvements on sustainability. DOE and the Federal government need to do more in order to step in to direct states in the right direction and provide funding. Certain states will not make these movements forward without federal oversight.

 

2. WHICH 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?

 

Making a more equitable society and continuing to improve public buildings such as schools, libraries, government buildings, and providing grants to low-income communities is the best way to ensure equitable access to sustainable buildings and improvements. The federal government needs to continue to provide funds, like how federal funds were distributed from the Build Back Better Bill that went to environmental 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?

 

Union apprenticeships and vocational training centers are the main way to getting this training done. In Lancaster county we have implemented programs like these and I oversaw vocational training programs to get kids trained for family sustaining jobs. I see using unions and continued vocational training as a good way to set kids on a non-traditional path that will be vital for continuing the middle class economies

 

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, a big part of my campaign's coalition building has been talking to unions and environmental groups. Both are a vital facet to the advocacy of sustainable building projects. Working with unions to make sure the work done to modernize and make buildings more sustainable needs to be done in a safe way that can be lead by good union jobs. Environmental groups have been a key in helping craft my environmental policy as well as informing me on issues specific to my district, including sustainable buildings. 

 

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 was the Superintendent of a school district for many years. During my tenure I stewarded  several school construction projects where the focus was on lighting and HVAC to improve efficiency standards for school buildings.

 

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.)