Where Candidates for Congress Stand
U.S. House, Virginia 5
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?
One of the most immediately effective things that Congress could do is to aggressively prioritize a transition to renewable energy sources. From there, it could heavily incentivize construction and reconfiguration of all buildings to a) run on electricity and b) be better configured to accommodate consumer solar/geothermal systems. It could also create building codes with required standards for efficiency/carbon reduction where possible.
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?
1) Make sure that localities have the tools they need to penalize landlords for failing to mitigate mold/flooding/air leakage.
2) Provide incentives for consumers to weatherize their homes/businesses, add solar/geothermal systems, and to buy energy efficient appliances.
3) Create requirements around energy efficiency and carbon neutrality for all building that receives federal subsidy.
4. IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO TRAIN AND PREPARE PEOPLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOBS THAT ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND BUILDING COMPONENTS?
1) I want to make community colleges and technical schools free for all so students can train for jobs in these industries, and I also want to ensure a just transition for fossil fuel workers and people who learned traditional/nonsustainable building methods as they retrain in more sustainable models: this means guaranteed salary matches, housing assistance, affordable healthcare, pension support, job training, and priority job placement.
2) I also want to support community-led efforts that are already doing this work: in the Fifth District, there are a number of community organizations that are working with people who've newly left prison and helping support them while they train for jobs in renewable energy manufacturing and installation. These organizations have a great track record, and I want to work with them at scale.
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! This is not an area of expertise for me, but it is an area that I am passionate about, so I would certainly want to begin by doing a lot of listening and learning.
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.)?
This is my first race, so I have not had the opportunity to support legislation to this effect, but I have made energy efficient modifications in my personal home like switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, thermostats with scheduling options, better insulation, energy efficient appliances and solar panel installation.
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