A House of Representatives resolution providing the contours of what is being called the Green New Deal calls for the energy upgrading of every single existing building in the U.S.
As introduced by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, the initiative also proposes a greater national investment in transit, energy technologies, the revamping of public transit, and education.
The proposal presents a mandate for requiring that all new buildings meet “maximal energy efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability.”
Updates to existing structures would have a timeline of several decades requiring completion.
The proposal has won both criticism and praise.
Reason magazine, noting that there are currently more than 137 million residential units in the country and six million commercial buildings, remarked: “The price for all of this would be astronomical.”
Neil Bradly, executive vice-president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the Green New Deal “asserts control over most of our economy, passing along the enormous costs and bureaucratic inefficiencies to everyday Americans.”
But proponents of the initiative, which has so far won the backing of some 60 members of the House and nine Senators, say the idea may not be as far-fetched as its detractors insist.
The magazine Fast Company notes that the Green New Deal’s building mandates have already to a degree been embraced by a host of U.S. mayors, including the leaders of New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, who have said that every new building in their cities should achieve net zero energy by 2030, with all other existing buildings attaining that status by 2050.
In an effort to drum up support for the idea, a progressive activist group called the Action Network has vowed to visit the offices of New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, as well as Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema, and Colorado’s Michael Bennett, urging them to back the Green New Deal resolution.
For all of that, the fate of the initiative is currently uncertain. “Odds that the Green New Deal proposal will become law appear long,” says the Engineering New-Record.
“But, depending on how much support it eventually generates,” the publication continues, “the plan may help shape the contours of any major infrastructure legislation this year and also push climate change up the list of priority issues for the 2020 elections.”
By Garry Boulard
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