During the August Congressional recess, AIA|WA members met with members of Washington’s Congressional delegation to relay asks from AIA National and discuss other issues of interest. Members met with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6), and staff from the offices of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Sen. Patty Murray.
AIA National’s issues focused on restoring funding for programs and tools that support energy efficiency in buildings and are used by architects to help clients make informed choices. While the Trump administration has recommended slashing funding for many of these programs, it is up to Congress to develop the final budget. Key programs of importance to architects include:
179D, the Energy Efficient Commercial Tax Deduction
179D allows building owners to claim a tax deduction to offset the initial design and construction costs associated with better building systems that reduce total energy consumption by 50 percent or more. Importantly, public building owners are allowed to allocate the deduction to the designer of energy efficient property. On Aug. 1, Rep. Reichert co-sponsored legislation to make permanent and strengthen 179D; other offices were asked to support Reichert’s bill.
Department of Energy Programs
Architects rely on DOE programs to support work of critical importance to designers and the building industry, including the Building Technologies Office, which helps to develop the nation’s energy code process, and the the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey, which sets baselines for energy usage.
Environmental Protection Agency Programs
The EPA’s Energy Star Program provides tools to track and benchmark the energy and water usage of building asset portfolios. EPA also provides valuable research on building materials through its Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical Substance Inventory and data on radon mitigation, mold prevention and chemical emissions from building products through its Indoor Air Quality Program.