Advocacy Day 2023: Bringing Energy Efficiency to Harrisburg

By Daniel Marzec

Posted November 27, 2023

Earlier this month, I had the incredible opportunity to advocate for energy efficiency alongside a dedicated group, engaging with state legislators in Pennsylvania. Organized by Green Building United in partnership with the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, our mission was clear: to educate and persuade legislators on the vital importance of energy efficiency for the future of our state.

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Advocacy Day members gather at AIA Pennsylvania's office next door to the state capitol in Harrisburg.
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Pictured left to right, GBU staff Emily Pugliese, Rich Freeh, and Daniel Marzec.

The Purpose of Advocacy Day

Our primary goal was to shed light on the significance of energy efficiency in Pennsylvania. We firmly believe that embracing energy efficiency not only benefits the built environment but also strengthens our communities and economy. Armed with facts and passion, we set out to convey this message to our state legislators.

Key Issues Addressed

During our interactions, we focused on three key policy asks, urging legislators to support the Whole-Home Repair program aimed at weatherizing and retrofitting homes - critical to increasing the energy efficiency of homes. Additionally, we advocated for the adoption of Improved Energy Efficient Appliance Standards (House Bill 1615), along with critical funding for the state's Department of Environmental Protection whose Energy Program Office to support its staffing requirements in order to secure administer the billions of dollars available in federal funding opportunities. These measures, we emphasized, not only contribute to a greener future but also create job opportunities and drive economic growth.

Engaging with State Legislators

Our engagements with state legislators were informative and impactful. We had the privilege of meeting with staff and/or legislators with 22 different offices, who were not only receptive to our ideas and concerns but also offered valuable thoughts and suggestions on how we can collectively increase support for energy efficiency in the legislature. These discussions became tremendous opportunities to establish relationships and a shared understanding of how we can work together to champion energy efficiency in Pennsylvania.

Overcoming Challenges to Promote Energy Efficiency

Advocacy is not without its challenges, but our group excelled in addressing them head-on. We successfully imparted a comprehensive understanding of the far-reaching benefits of energy efficiency to legislators. More importantly, we conveyed the immense opportunities available through federal funding. Building on these successes, we forged strong connections with legislators whose support is crucial for the passage of energy-efficient legislation.

Impact and Next Steps

The impact of our advocacy efforts is already evident. Legislators now possess a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted benefits of energy efficiency. As we move forward, we will leverage our new legislative relationships by continuing to further discussions and -policy ideas ahead of the 2024 state budget. Our focus remains on securing funding for the state's ability to administer and utilize the billions of dollars available in federal resources dedicated to advancing energy efficiency.

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GBU members and staff along with partners from the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, and Green Building Alliance of Pittsburgh.
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Shannon Crooker and Mardi Ditze pause for a picture in the capitol rotunda.

Reflecting back, our journey advocating for energy efficiency in Pennsylvania was not just a series of meetings; it was a shared commitment to a brighter, more sustainable future. Together, with the support of our legislators, we are paving the way for transformative change that will benefit our state for generations to come.

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