Advocacy Matters! Join us for Contractor Lobby Day 2018.
Last fall, a group of Maryland contractors hit the Hill to meet with legislators and their staff. Our goal was simple – to educate lawmakers on what we do and why it matters, and explain what types of policies can help our businesses grow. One meeting we had turned out to be particularly important, and that was our meeting with Senator Van Hollen (D-MD).
Senator Van Hollen sits on the very important Banking Committee. One of the policies we discussed with him was Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) because the program was under attack in both appropriations and banking/financial services committees. While MD does not have an R-PACE program, it is the type of innovative financing program that we would like to see come to MD in the future. Opponents to R-PACE were pressing to put in place regulations that would kill the program, making it impossible for states to continue offering this financing for residential energy efficiency projects.
After meeting with us, Senator Van Hollen directed his staff to be on the lookout for legislative attacks on R-PACE. About a month later, Van Hollen’s staff contacted our governmental affairs representative with important news – a piece of legislation that would effectively kill R-PACE had been included in a bi-partisan package on Banking Reform that was about to be introduced in the Banking Committee. A week of intense negotiations ensued, with Van Hollen playing a key role in ensuring that there was agreement on the language that would save R-PACE prior to introduction of the bill. An agreement was eventually reached that removed the most serious threats to R-PACE. This solution would not have been possible if Senator Van Hollen had not alerted the industry to the issue and pressed for a bi-partisan resolution.
The lesson in all of this – advocacy matters! Our voices matter. And while making a phone call or signing a petition is great, nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting. Lawmakers must see us and hear directly from us how our industry works, what obstacles and threats we face, and what we need to grow our businesses.
This example demonstrates that once lawmakers understand the value of the home performance industry, they will fight for us. So join your fellow contractors on the Hill this April for a federal lobby day to support policies that will help advance the residential energy efficiency industry. Let’s give them something to fight for.
Join us for the 2018 Contractor Lobby Day! As part of the 2018 HPC Home Performance Conference & Trade Show, contractors are invited to travel to Washington D.C. and meet with key congressional offices to advocate for funding of residential energy efficiency programs, tax credits for residential retrofits, and other policies that can help advance the home performance industry. This opportunity is included as part of the registration fee for the conference. Transportation from the conference to DC will be provided the evening of April 25, with Hill meetings held on April 26.
For more information, click here.
About the author: Brian Toll founded ecobeco in 2008 to focus on helping consumers adopt energy-efficiency solutions. Brian is a member of the ASHRAE 62.2 Indoor Air Quality Subcommittee. Brian is currently Chair of the Maryland Building Performance Association (formerly Efficiency First Maryland). Brian has an MBA from MIT Sloan and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Brian will be a panelist for the Impact of Home Performance on Childhood Asthma in Market-Rate Homes - The HEALTH-R Study session at HPC18, Tuesday, April 24 - 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM.