McKinstry Recommends Once-In-A-Generation Federal Investment to Decarbonize the Built Environment by 2030

Company outlines a Build Back Better framework to accelerate carbon reduction, environmental justice, and job creation starting with the built environment  

SEATTLE (March 22, 2021) — McKinstry, a national construction and energy services firm, today unveiled a set of recommendations for the Biden-Harris administration’s Build Back Better jobs and recovery plan to propel the U.S. toward a zero-carbon future. The recommendations provide a framework to decarbonize the built environment, advance environmental justice, and create the thousands of sustained good-wage jobs needed to make buildings healthier, more resilient, and more efficient.

Commercial buildings today account for 40% of total carbon emissions and 40% of energy consumed in the U.S., but just 11% of that energy comes from clean, zero-carbon, renewable sources. While decades of utility energy efficiency programs have slowed energy consumption in the building sector, these initiatives do not reduce carbon emissions enough to prevent global temperatures from increasing beyond the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold that climate scientists agree is a tipping point.

“The world is grappling with the real-time effects of the climate crisis, racial injustice, economic inequities and the need to make better buildings more affordable,” said McKinstry CEO Dean Allen. “Clean energy and improved efficiency within the built environment can deliver a healthier, more affordable and more equitable society while directly addressing the climate crisis. At no other point has McKinstry felt so compelled and so confident to lay out the leadership needed to bring about bold change – for our people, for our industry, for our planet.”

In response to this need, McKinstry recommends a set of five specific actions focused on building momentum for transformative change in the U.S. energy value chain and speeding progress on critical goals related to the climate crisis, affordability, job creation and social equity.

1. Decarbonize by 2030: This once in-a-generation investment by the federal government must spark a collective call to action to radically reduce carbon in the built environment. Accepting Build Back Better funding must come with a commitment to decarbonize the built environment to zero within 10 years.

2. Accelerate Clean Electrification: Deploy technologies and approaches that reduce carbon and energy use, create jobs, and improve indoor air quality; invest in projects that transition utility infrastructure into clusters of zero-carbon, resilient, grid-interactive buildings; and incentivize building owners to rapidly invest in upgrading existing buildings.

3. Leverage Federal Funds to do More: Ease policies and regulations to encourage public-private partnerships that accelerate transformation and require a match that attracts three dollars of private sector funding for every one dollar of federal stimulus invested.

4. Focus First on Schools: Ensure schools are the healthiest and most resilient buildings in our communities, prioritizing Title 1 schools with the highest concentration of low-income families for equitable distribution of funds.

5. Rely on States to Act with Urgency and Agility: Require state block grants to balance job creation alongside energy, carbon, health, safety, resiliency and equity.

Along with these recommendations, McKinstry calls on the Biden-Harris administration to create a clear, tangible, complete and compelling vision of what the U.S. will look like in 2030 – a highly efficient society powered by zero-carbon energy sources equitably distributed across incomes and geographies.

“Over the last decade, the effort to address the climate crisis has suffered from a lack of clarity around priorities and answers. We support a national effort aimed at creating the jobs required to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure today backed by an equitable zero-carbon future,” Allen said. “Modernizing infrastructure so that it is in better balance with the natural environment must happen within the next decade and a targeted zero-carbon investment and action in the built environment will lift up every community across the U.S. We must act with urgency and make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

To learn more and download a copy of McKinstry’s white paper, “Action for Impact: Recommendations to Build Back Better,” visit: https://www.mckinstry.com/about/action-for-impact/

About McKinstry
McKinstry is a national leader in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings. From new construction and ongoing operations to adaptive reuse and energy retrofits, the company provides a single point of accountability across the entire building lifecycle. McKinstry focuses on people and outcomes to ensure the built environment serves owners, operators and occupants alike. McKinstry is your trusted partner for the life of your building. Learn more at www.McKinstry.com.

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