Sustainable-building leaders had their chance to lobby for energy efficiency improvements and offered their takes on how to get there at a recent industry expo on Capitol Hill.

Kiere DeGrandchamp, president of Gettysburg, Pa.-based High Performance Homes and one of four panelists at the Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo, said houses that reach zero energy rating status deserve special financing.

“These houses are worth it … You don’t have electric bills and you have a lot of comfort,” he says. “We’re petitioning to get tax credits incentivized and also talking about getting mortgages at a reduced rate for these types of homes because they are less at-risk than a regularly constructed home.”

Tom Herron, director of communications and marketing at the National Fenestration Rating Council, also offered ideas on how policymakers can help the U.S. reach its sustainable goals.

Citing Lawrence Berkeley laboratory’s study that found energy wastage through windows is $50 billion annually, Herron said this could be stopped through stricter standards.

“Only 30 percent of buildings use high-performance windows,” he said. “This can increase through code enforcement.”

Herron told DWM magazine that representatives from many legislators’ offices circulated throughout the discussions, and he believed the expo served its purpose.

“The show provided a great opportunity to call more attention to the important role windows, doors, and skylights play in improving our quality of life by making residential and commercial buildings more comfortable and energy efficient while contributing to green building and sustainability and also delivering many health and human performance benefits,” he said.

Other panelists during the housing seminar included Paul Bertram, director, government affairs, Kingspan Insulated Panels and Katrin Klingenberg, executive director of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) Inc.

You can view the full panel session below:

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