Photo of Joe Biden

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Unions, Industry, Environmental Leaders, and Elected Officials Agree New Building Performance Standards Coalition Will Deliver

January 24, 2022

National Building Performance Standards Coalition to Scale Programs and Policies That Reduce Emissions Across America's Buildings Sector

Last week, President Biden announced during his remarks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors that his Administration is teaming up with states, cities, labor, and industry to launch the Building Performance Standards Coalition, a first-of-its-kind partnership between 33 state and local governments dedicated to delivering cleaner, healthier, and more affordable buildings.

With nearly 20% of the nation's building footprint in their jurisdictions, the partnership facilitates new commitments to advance building performance standards that create good-paying, union jobs, lower energy bills for consumers, keep residents and workers safe from harmful pollution, and cut emissions across the buildings sector.

A broad coalition of unions, building industry leaders, state and local elected officials, environmental organizations, philanthropic leaders, and more applauded the newly-launched Building Performance Standards Coalition.

See below for what they're saying:

Labor

International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART): "SMART commends the Biden administration's strong commitment to making sure our buildings serve as a vehicle to address the climate crisis and create good middle class, family friendly union jobs. For decades, SMART members and our training programs have set the standard for the work that will be required. SMART sheet metal workers are highly skilled and trained to achieve safe indoor air quality and ensure HVAC systems operate properly to improve building energy efficiency and safety. We stand ready to support our local, state and federal law makers to develop, adopt and implement building performance policies with strong workforce standards to create union jobs and achieve environmental sustainability." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Lonnie Stephenson, President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW): "The 775,000 members of the IBEW applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for bringing together 31 cities and two states to establish the high-efficiency building standards needed for a transition to a cleaner economy. Highly skilled workers, including union electrical workers, will be instrumental in ensuring cities of the future are built on time, on budget, and to the highest quality standards possible. We look forward to working with the Administration and state and local governments on complementary policies that will utilize the expertise building trades workers bring to these state-of-the-art projects and ensure workers are safe and paid family-sustaining wages. Together, we can once again prove that it is possible to achieve climate goals while supporting the needs of working families." [Statement, 1/21/22]

International Brotherhood of Teamsters: "#Teamsters applaud @POTUS's initiative announced today to work with states, cities, labor & industry to launch the Building Performance Standards Coalition, a 1st-of-its-kind partnership dedicated to delivering cleaner, healthier & more affordable buildings. @NABTU @Local237NY. #Teamsters support @POTUS's newly-launched Building Performance Standards Coalition which will facilitate the design & implementation of building performance standards, create good-paying, union jobs, lower energy bills and keep residents & workers safe from harmful pollution. #Teamsters look forward to expanding the nation's skilled workforce to achieve the collective retrofit goals of the Building Performance Standards Coalition. @NABTU members & other unions have stepped up to partner with cities & states to train workforces to get the job done. #1u" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Terry O'Sullivan, General President, Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA): "The launch by the Biden Administration of a coalition of state and local governments to upgrade and modernize building standards is a win for workers, businesses, communities and the environment. Covering nearly 20 percent of buildings in our country, this is a bold initiative that will begin addressing the challenge of improving building energy efficiency, affordability and safety, while contributing to economic growth and the creation of good jobs. And crucially, this initiative focuses on the needs of workers by recognizing the training capacity of unions and the benefits to workers of having a union. The strong, proud, united members of LIUNA stand ready to recruit and train the construction laborers needed to get this job done. We will be proud to work with the Administration on the rollout in the 33 cities and
states participating […]." [Statement, 1/24/22]

North America's Building Trades Unions: "Retrofitting the buildings of our nation's cities and states stands to benefit not only the hard-working men and women of NABTU but our environment as well; all while bringing us closer to achieving President Biden's ambitious energy goals. We look forward to offering our decades long experience in providing the country's highest-skilled and best trades craftspersons to all the members of the coalition." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Labor Energy Partnership: "This is an exciting example of leaders hitting the ground running to implement $$s allocated to communities by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These investments will create great jobs in the #energy & trades sectors, lower consumers' bills, and cut emissions. #energytwitter" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Environmental Organizations
America is All In: "Local governments and community institutions have enormous potential for impact, and stand ready to reduce emissions and grow jobs alongside the federal government. Today's announcement on building standards is a welcome example of partnership that empowers local leadership." [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Climate Nexus: "BREAKING: Over 30 local governments have just committed to working with their communities to equitably decarbonize buildings and pass a building performance standard. This great resource from @IMT_speaks explains why that's such a big deal." [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Earthjustice: "Buildings account for one-tenth of climate pollution in the U.S. Electrifying buildings and improving energy efficiency are critical to solving the climate crisis, and this partnership is an important step forward. #ActOnClimate" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Nevada Conservation League: "GOOD NEWS for #ClimateAction in NV: @CityofReno was selected by @WHCEQ to strengthen building performance standards to: 1 support energy efficiency, 2 create jobs, 3 lower costs" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Renewable Heat Now: "YES! Time for climate, health and affordability upgrades to America's buildings! #NationalBPScoalition with over two dozen local communities + @WHCEQ leading the way in breaking news today. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/590805-biden-launches-green-building-partnership-with-states-cities" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Building Sector Stakeholders and Philanthropy

Johnson Controls: "Buildings represent opportunity, as they account for ~40% of CO2 emissions. We commend the @WhiteHouse Council on Environmental Quality and the 33 state & local govs announcing their plans for new building performance standards in the race to net zero: https://on.jci.com/33SWwtQ" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

U.S. Green Building Council: "@WHCEQ & 30+ local US gov'ts just committed to working with their communities to equitably decarbonize buildings via co-designed policies and programs. This is a huge move for the future of green building. https://bit.ly/3GT7YnJ" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Rip Rapson, President and CEO, Kresge Foundation: "Today we learned the Biden-Harris Administration has launched the Building Performance Standards Coalition, the first-of-its-kind partnership between 33 state and local governments dedicated to delivering cleaner, healthier and more affordable buildings. This new initiative will not only support energy-efficient buildings but will also create green jobs and lower energy costs for those carrying the heaviest energy burdens. Across each of our funding arms at Kresge, we are laser-focused on how to support the efforts of community-led movements to deconstruct barriers to equity and substitute in their place policies, norms, and practices that are inclusive and sustainable. The National Building Performance Standards Coalition is a perfect example of those principles in action. Not only does the Coalition take direct aim at helping cities combat and adapt to climate change, it does that by elevating the primacy of advancing racial, economic, and social equity, opportunity, and justice. Even with the myriad of other powerful and effective efforts across the environmental sector, the Coalition may be the most powerful lever we have to decarbonize the built environment in communities across the country. And that is why I call on my colleagues in philanthropy to support this effort. Philanthropy in all its shapes and sizes – corporate foundations, community foundations, family foundations, national foundations – can make a huge difference in driving the success of the Coalition's local efforts. We can, in particular, invest in local organizations." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Rewiring America: "GOOD NEWS! @WhiteHouse announces 33 city + 2 state coalition w/labor & industry support to upgrade 20% of US buildings. The #NationalBPSCoalition will develop & implement policies w/communities to deliver healthy, affordable & climate-resilient buildings. [Tweet, 1/21/22]

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE): "Building performance standards are a key tool for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from today's buildings. Exciting to see 33 cities and states working to adopt or implement these standards -- with new federal support." [Tweet, 1/21/22]

New Buildings Institute: "NBI strongly supports implementing Building Performance Standards (BPS) across the country. Learn about the work we've been doing and resources we have available to support BPS in different jurisdictions: https://newbuildings.org/code_policy/building-performance-standards/" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT): "In the big picture, this announcement sends a very clear market signal. More than 22% of the U.S. population live in the Coalition's communities and their homes, offices, schools, and other buildings represent nearly 20% of the nation's building stock. As with communities across the country, the participating jurisdictions of the Coalition face enormous and diverse challenges from climate change, including increased heat waves, air pollution, drought, flooding, and extended power outages in the buildings where they live, work, and learn…not to mention the pollution from the energy and water used in the buildings. Given that fewer than 2% of our workplaces and schools and less than 1% of U.S. homes get any sort of energy-related upgrade in a given year, the buildings where we spend our time are not prepared for the challenges ahead. Our communities need a building performance plan to manage and upgrade their buildings, to ensure that everyone is safe in a changing climate. And, that can create a lot of local economic opportunity in the process. We are proud to support a coalition of communities that want to do something about this!" [Statement, 1/21/22]

Energy Foundation: "This is big. 33 state and local governments dedicated to delivering cleaner, healthier, and more affordable buildings as part of the new National Building Performance Standards Coalition. @IMT_speaks" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

State and Local Governments

Colorado Governor Jared Polis: Video available here [Statement, 1/21/22]

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: "My administration is very proud to join the CEQ as well as state and municipal leaders across the country to deliver on the shared goal of passing building performance standards and other aligned decarbonization policies," said Mayor Lightfoot. The City of Chicago is committed to taking bold action to mitigate the climate crisis and is prioritizing the equitable reduction of building emissions to create meaningful outcomes. This will result in highly efficient buildings in all communities across Chicago, improved health outcomes, household savings and the activation of the green economy." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu: "As a coastal city that's vulnerable to rising seas and extreme heat, Boston must be a national leader in driving a just transition to carbon neutrality. Our Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance sets the standard for securing major emissions reductions from large buildings, with specific benchmarks on the path to becoming a net zero city and clear mechanisms to ensure that environmental justice communities experience the benefits of net zero buildings." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor: "Buildings are an integral part of our community – they shape our city's design and form, and we spend over 90% of our time inside them. Here in Ann Arbor, buildings also account for over 65% of our community's climate pollution. That means we need to do everything in our power to ensure our buildings are safer, healthier, and more affordable for us and for the planet. That is why I'm delighted to join forces with the White House and other communities around the nation to advance initiatives that improve the sustainability and performance of our built environment." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley: "Annapolis is proud to join other local governments in decarbonizing our built environment. Creating healthy, energy-efficient, and resilient buildings is essential to improving the quality of life for all of our community members. This is one of the reasons why I created the position of Deputy City Manager for Resilience and Sustainability." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale: "Adopting building performance requirements for large buildings is essential for meeting our net zero emissions goal. This action is anticipated to have the most significant impact on emissions reductions in the City through 2050, along with emission reductions from the state electricity grid. Building upgrades will also result in more energy efficient homes and businesses, improving indoor comfort and air quality and lowering energy bills." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas: "Chula Vista joined the Building Performance Standards Coalition to highlight the important work that must be done by local jurisdictions to drive retrofits in existing buildings, as buildings account for roughly 40 percent of energy consumed in the United States. Our Building Energy Saving Ordinance, adopted by City Council in early 2021, targets buildings 20,000 square feet and above. The City will realize benefits that include improving the quality of Chula Vista's commercial and multi-family building stock, helping building owners save money through cost-effective energy efficiency measures, educating tenants and real estate professionals about the value of building energy performance, and reducing carbon emissions in Chula Vista. These actions will help the City meet our Climate Action Plan goals - including our goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. As a city that has focused on climate action since 2000 and was the first in San Diego County to adopt a Climate Action Plan, we are proud to be a leader and we look forward to learning more from other cities that are enacting similar regulations." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock: "Denver's new building performance policy will make housing more affordable by lowering energy bills, and it will create a healthier city with better indoor air quality for our residents. This is especially important for people in under-resourced communities who often experience the worst effects of gas-powered buildings. By moving towards efficient, renewably powered buildings with the support of our stakeholders, we are showing how local governments can work with their communities to pass bold, achievable and equitable policies. This coalition is the start of a climate-safe future for all." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss: "The City of Evanston is committed to an equitable, carbon neutral future, and our participation in the White House National Building Performance Standards Coalition will facilitate collaboration with other cities that share that commitment. We know that achieving the Coalition's goals will enable our residents to live healthier lives with more job opportunities, and it is clear that we cannot achieve these goals without collaboration across jurisdictions together with strong federal leadership." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Fort Collins Mayor Jeni Arndt: "Over the last year, Fort Collins has experienced the unavoidable impacts of climate change, feeling the compounded pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside extreme heat days, severe wildfires, and resulting air and water quality issues. Addressing the climate crisis continues to be a top priority for our community, and we are committed to taking bold and accelerated action to address the impacts from Fort Collins' built environment and minimum building performance standards are one of the many strategies that our City is exploring." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss: "The City of Grand Rapids recognizes that decarbonizing our buildings is one of the most critical pathways to achieving communitywide net zero carbon emissions. In mid-2021, we launched our Equitable, Healthy and Zero Carbon Buildings Initiative (E.H.Zero), which builds upon the successful equity focused foundation that we built with our community based partner over the last several years through the national Zero Cities Project. It is critical that equity be a dual priority embedded into building performance standards and other high performing building programs." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas: "The climate crisis is among the most urgent issues we face as a nation and as a world, and Kansas City is committed to building an equitable and climate-resilient community for our future and for our children—in all neighborhoods. I am proud to partner with the White House on these ambitious climate objectives, and will look forward to sharing and receiving best practices with communities from across our country." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: "Buildings are not just our largest source of pollution – they represent one of our greatest opportunities to create good-paying jobs and turn the tide on the climate crisis. I'm proud to join the White House and leaders from around the country who are committed to reducing emissions from our buildings in order to build cleaner communities, improve public health, and create more inclusive economies." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich: "We are proud to have submitted proposed legislation to our County Council that will require existing buildings to improve their energy performance. If this bill is signed into law, we will join a select group of leading jurisdictions that have passed a BEPS policy that sets a minimum energy performance threshold for existing buildings." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer: "Advancing building energy efficiency and resilience presents one of the greatest opportunities for cities to realize significant energy bill savings, catalyze local job creation and economic development, and reduce harmful air pollutants and carbon emissions associated with the built environment. More and more of the major issues of our time, whether it's fighting crime and terrorism or whether it's climate change, are being fought on the local level. Orlando stands committed a to zero-carbon future and we are delighted to join the new White House coalition of cities to help us better collaborate and continue advancing equitable climate and energy policy." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney: "With the built environment accounting for 72 percent of Philadelphia's carbon emissions, improving building performance will be a key strategy to achieving our carbon neutrality goal by 2050. But as one of the most energy burdened and high poverty cities, it is critical that building decarbonization strategies also support low income residents. We look forward to participating in this coalition and tapping into leading experts to help us consider next steps." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey: "I am proud to commit Pittsburgh to the White House National BPS Coalition to ensure that our city becomes a center for innovative clean, green infrastructure. We must accelerate investment in effective, sustainable solutions to properly combat the climate crisis and we must ensure that these projects invest in the communities of color that have been subject to environmental racism for far too long." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Prince George's County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks: "Prince George's County is working to improve the quality of life for our residents as we face the impacts of a changing climate. We are committed to Climate solutions that improve community health outcomes, provide good paying jobs, and reduce energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Centering our decisions around equity, we lead the DC Metro region in community solar, are committed to transit-oriented development, health, education and food security, and want the places where our community lives, works and gathers to be safe, healthy and efficient." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve: "By collecting benchmarking data on buildings and setting performance standards, we have the potential to change the future of Reno for the better. These efforts help us work toward solidifying Reno's status as a leader in supporting sustainable economic development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving public health outcomes through better indoor air quality and other benefits of better building performance and operations. We are proud the City of Reno has stepped up with so many other communities across the United States to lead that charge." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: "Sacramento is committed to fighting climate change and building a modern economy that uplifts all of our communities by connecting green jobs with strong workforce training. The White House Building Performance Standards Coalition offers a strong opportunity to advance policies that will equitably decarbonize and electrify Sacramento's buildings. This work aligns with our momentum in this sector – Sacramento has adopted a new building electrification ordinance and is developing a pathway to transition existing buildings to carbon-free electricity by 2045." [Statement, 1/21/22]

San Francisco Mayor London Breed: "Nearly half of San Francisco's emissions currently come from buildings, so transitioning this sector from natural gas to clean electricity is critical to reach our climate, health, and resiliency goals. As we move to cleaner, more efficient technology, our strategies must protect low-and-middle income renters and owners, support affordable housing, ensure new jobs, and provide training for local workers. San Francisco is proud to participate in this coalition and we look forward to working with other jurisdictions to clean up the buildings sector." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Savannah Mayor Eric Johnson: "Savannah wouldn't be the city it is without its beautiful historic homes, but we know that those homes often carry tremendous costs in terms of energy use and health. That's why Savannah is excited to join the BPS coalition and set itself on a path to more efficient, healthier homes in accordance with our 100% Savannah clean energy goals." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell: "The urgency of the climate crisis requires strong leadership at every level of government. Seattle is proud to join efforts across the nation to advance climate solutions that lead to real reductions in building greenhouse gas emissions, create healthy workplaces and homes, and strengthen and develop our clean energy workforce. Designing an equitable building performance standards policy is critical work – and Seattle has begun that work by bringing stakeholders together – engaging frontline communities, labor unions, building owners and operators, and many more. Together, at home and in this coalition, we can advance innovative, urgent, climate-forward policy that creates jobs and reduces emissions with climate justice at the center. I know through collaboration and peer learning we will continue our march to ensure green, carbon-free buildings, and I invite my colleagues across the nation to join in this critical work." [Statement, 1/21/22]

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser: "When cities and states come together around climate goals, we have the collective ability to put our nation on a better, greener, and more sustainable path forward. As we prepare to make big investments in our nation's infrastructure, including buildings and housing, we know that the implementation of the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) program is critical to creating communities that support our shared climate goals. We are proud to be leading this work in Washington, DC through our Clean Energy DC Plan and by making sure property owners, especially of multifamily affordable homes, get the technical and financial support they need to come into compliance with more efficient and resilient living spaces. We are proud of the work we are doing here in DC and look forward to joining in this nationwide effort." [Statement, 1/21/22]

DC Green Bank: "The Biden-Harris administration has a taken a big step forward to take action & raise ambition in the building sector across the country - announcing the creation of a Coalition of States and Local Governments to Strengthen Building Performance Standards! The District has already begun implementation of the first-in-the-nation Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) and we look forward to contributing to this exciting effort to make this a nationwide effort!" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Washington Governor Jay Inslee: "Washington state is proud to be a leader in decarbonizing our built environment. In 2019, we established the first statewide building energy performance standards program and this year, I've introduced legislation to expand our program to improve the health, comfort, and efficiency of all buildings over 20,000 square feet in Washington state, including multifamily housing. We look forward to partnering with the Biden Administration and coalition members to scale this important work nationwide." [Statement, 1/21/22]

New York City Office of Climate & Sustainability: "NYC is proud to participate in the National Building Performance Standards Coalition and to continue our work to reduce buildings' carbon emissions and make our city cleaner, healthier, and more affordable. Learn more about how at https://on.nyc.gov/3wfBsWK" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Reno Resilience (City of Reno's Sustainability & Climate Initiative): ".@CityofReno joins 33 other cities/states selected by @WHCEQ "Today, President Biden announced during his remarks at the @usmayors that his Administration is teaming up with states, cities, labor, and industry to launch the Building Performance Standards Coalition." @MayorSchieve" [Tweet, 1/21/22]

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Unions, Industry, Environmental Leaders, and Elected Officials Agree New Building Performance Standards Coalition Will Deliver Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354226

Simple Search of Our Archives