Where Candidates for Congress Stand
U.S. Senate, Vermont
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?
Energy efficiency is a win-win-win for the economy, the environment, and consumer savings. Congress has taken important steps in recent years to advance more energy efficiency programs with the passage of Welch/McKinley (Shaheen/Portman) and the Inflation Reduction Act, but more needs to be done to fully embrace energy efficiency as a tool to save money and combat climate change. I will continue to be a champion for energy efficiency if elected to the US Senate.
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?
Providing grants that make it affordable for all Americans to upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient is critical. My Hope for Homes bill that was included in the Inflation Reduction Act will help families make improvements at home to lower their energy usage, slash utility bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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 continue to build on the training provision I got included in the Inflation Reduction Act which provides funding to help train contractors involved in the installation of home energy efficiency and electrification improvements. Congress must do more, though. We must help train young workers who are entering the workforce, as well as those already working, to ensure they have the skills necessary to transform our buildings and help us transition to a clean energy 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?
Yes. I am currently the co-chair of the High Performance Building Caucus and have worked closely with advocates for sustainable building policies when developing legislation like my Hope for Homes Act and Welch/McKinley. If elected to the Senate, I will continue to build on that relationship.
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, as mentioned, I have been the co-chair of the High Performance Building Caucus for numerous Congresses and will continue to lead on these critical issues. I also led the recent passage of the Hope for Homes Act, which is focused on securing rebates for home energy efficiency and weatherization retrofits and providing grants for contractor training. This program, known initially as the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) bill, dates back to 2009 and was included in the 2009 Waxman-Markey climate change bill. Though Waxman-Markey failed to pass in the Senate, I continued to push for robust rebates for home retrofits, introducing legislation to establish such a program, consistently from 2009-2022.
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