In January 2020, the House Energy & Commerce Committee (HE&C) released a draft legislative proposal titled the “Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act” or the “CLEAN Future Act.” This climate bill charts a path to carbon neutrality by 2050 across all sectors of the US economy. One section of this proposal, Title III – Efficiency, is primarily focused on buildings. Senior AIA Advocacy & Relationships staff and AIA COTE Advocacy have actively contributed to this progressive legislative proposal.
Following the 2018 midterm Congressional elections, the AIA Advocacy & Relationships Department and AIA COTE Advocacy have been working closely with HE&C leadership. Our correspondence with HE&C Chair Rep. Frank Pallone (D, NJ) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D, NY), chair of HE&C’s subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change, has been particularly productive. Subtitle A of the CLEAN Future Act – Energy Saving Building Codes – is strongly supported by COTE Advocacy. Subtitle B – Exiting Building Retrofits, Section 311, Reauthorization of the Weatherization Assistance Program, has been a specific topic of discussion in our “hill visit” in recent months. The CLEAN Future Act also contains provisions for promoting energy efficiency in public buildings and schools, as well as the creation of a Home Energy Savings Retrofit Rebate Program.
The full scope of this draft legislative proposal also includes provisions to advance environmental justice, reduce the use of “super pollutants”, train a clean energy workforce, and launch a climate change national security strategy. Although it has little chance of passing the US Senate, we are optimistic that it can be brought to the House floor for a full and open debate this year. At the very least, it will serve as a template for progressive public policy in a future Congress.
2020 COTE Chair Julie Hiromoto, FAIA, testified before the House Energy & Commerce Committee on February 12 regarding H.R. 3962, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2019. Like other energy-efficiency measures, AIA Advocacy & Relationships and AIA COTE Advocacy endorse many aspects of this bill, but COTE Chair Hiromoto offered testimony recommending that the repeal of Section 433 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) be stricken from the Act. EISA Section 433, a law that requires Federal building to phase-out the use of fossil fuels by 2030, has been long-defended by the AIA against may attempts to repeal.