In Focus

Election 2020:

Where Candidates for Congress Stand

South Dakota

SENATE

​

Dan Ahlers

Democratic

U.S. Senate, South Dakota

 

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 reinstate and modernize the expired tax incentives on home energy efficiency improvements. Congress could also fund collaborative projects with our energy coops and universities that are working creating tomorrow's smart home.

 

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,

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,

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?

 

Through HUD, we could focus resources on lower income neighborhoods that provide both walkability/transit-accessibility and access to economic, education and healthcare opportunity. We can also invest in upgrading accessiblity and opportunity in these communities. We could upgrade opportunity by investing in more affordable housing, schools and jobs in communities that have good walkability and transit access but low opportunity.

 

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

 

We should work with our technical schools and universities to identify our green job needs for now and the future. We need to invest dollars into these areas as well as retraining for those already working in the energy industry.

 

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 small business owner, a commercial building owner and former state legislator, I bring experience and a record of building coalitions to solve problems. It is important to see issues from many perspectives. It will allow new policy to improve efficiency while considering its impact on old and new construction.

 

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 state legislator, I have experience in updating and adopting new building codes. As member of the Appropriations Committee, I helped fund and oversee the updating of our capitol building. We updated to energy efficient lighting, improved water efficiency and installed waterless urnals in the men's bathroom. These urnals save an average of 35,000 gallons of water each year.

As a commercial building owner, I updated 2 historical buildings improving access to people with disabilities while installing modern electrical, lighting and energy efficient heating a cooling systems. I also set my heating and cooling systems up on zones to reduce unnecessary energy usage.

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