Advocacy Update: A Call to Action

By Michael R. Davis FAIA posted 19 days ago


Given the dire headlines from the Sixth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is something that AIA COTE members can and should do: Call or email your elected members of the US House of Representatives now. Following the Biden Administration’s lead, the US Senate has taken once-in-a-generation steps to battle climate change through passage of HR 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”, and the $3.5T multi-year budgetary framework that includes billions in new spending to promote clean energy development.  

Why should AIA COTE members act now? Three reasons: 

One: Both these measures must be passed by the House of Representatives before they can become law. Every Representative in Congress needs to hear from us that buildings ARE infrastructure, and buildings produce roughly 40% of US greenhouse gas emissions, and radically improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings is a critical step to battling climate change and de-carbonizing the nation’s economy. This understanding is not front-of-mind for every member of Congress. It needs to be.  

Two: Although AIA Federal Relations staff is currently analyzing the Senate budget resolution, we have some clear advocacy “wins” in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bill contains many provisions that specifically address building energy efficiency including a $3.5B weatherization assistance program to increase energy efficiency and reduces costs for low-income households, $500B to support energy efficiency and renewables in schools, and $1B for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. Every member of Congress needs to hear that these steps – although only the first of many steps that need to be taken – are important to us … and appreciated.  

Three: Congress is now in recess, which means your elected US Representative is probably “in district” at their local HQ. This is when they are supposed to touch base with their constituents – meaning YOU. It will be weeks or even months before votes are take in the House on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Senate’s budget “reconciliation” measures. It’s never a bad time for AIA COTE members to be in touch with their Representatives in Congress, but right now it’s imperative.  

Your first step to raise your voice can be today. Take action here. 

AIA COTE Advocacy thanks you.