Monday, April 10, 2017

Mrs. Wilson goes to Washington – A Blog from our President

Our Legislative Action Day Team
In late March 2017 I had the opportunity to attend a Legislative Action Day in Washington DC.  This was a coalition of many different organizations within the insulation industry that came together to advocate for energy efficiency, tax reform and immigration reform as it relates to the insulation industry.  Eighty-two people from six different organizations participated in this event.

What prompted an insulation contractor from Wisconsin to travel to Washington DC and meet with staffers?  It was our opportunity to show legislators the impact our industry has on the US economy - putting our energy and passion to work in a real way.

The group was assigned the task of addressing the following three issues:

  • The importance of permanently reinstating the homeowner energy efficiency tax credits (25c).  Many times a tax credit is the tipping point for a customer deciding to move ahead with an energy efficiency improvement.  Energy efficiency tax credits drive business and puts extra money in homeowners’ pockets.
  • The labor shortage in the construction industry as a whole.  It is getting more difficult to find qualified workers to work in the trades.  An important part of the solution is immigration.  There are several industries that will depend on immigrants to do certain jobs, so immigration reform must be dealt with very carefully.
  • The importance of renewed funding for the Department of Energy.  Without funding for this organization standards for energy efficiency could be compromised across the country.  Even prominent programs such as Energy Star are at risk right now.

There were two key things I learned during the three days. Washington DC has a different pace than I expected.  Politics is a long game – you must keep communicating your agenda over and over until action happens (this was an important realization as a “do-er” who likes to check things off her to-do list daily). Additionally, Washington DC decision-makers may not know a thing about how your business or life is affected by those decisions – decisions we have to live with.  It is up to us to tell them our story and communicate the challenges to proposed legislation.

- Renee Wilson, President, Rockweiler Insulation

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

U.S. Insulation Industry Contributes Billions, Supports Jobs

A report from the American Chemistry Council was released recently during the insulation industry national policy and advocacy meeting. This report, The Contributions of Insulation to the U.S. Economy in 2016, is the most recent analysis of the massive economic impact the U.S. insulation industry has on the American economy.

This report indicates that the U.S. insulation industry contributes $20 billion annually to the U.S. economy and supports nearly 400,000 jobs throughout the United States. There are three key areas where the insulation industry contributes that directly align with key initiatives in Washington:

  • Health/Healthcare Costs
    • Studies show a positive connection between energy efficiency activities such as adding insulation and sealing air leaks and health. These improvements can create healthier living environments that can have a positive impact on respiration, asthma and general health. These health improvements can have a secondary benefit of cutting health care costs.
  • Reduced Energy Costs/Use
    • Adding insulation lowers energy use and energy costs, allowing homeowners keep more money in their pockets. Increasing insulation levels in existing homes would cut electricity use across the country by 37 billion kilowatt hours. In addition, 90 percent of homes in the U.S. are under insulated, resulting in unnecessarily high energy costs.
  • Infrastructure 
    • Our country’s infrastructure goes beyond roads and bridges to include buildings as well. Activities such as incorporating sustainable materials, efficient building envelope design, insulating and air sealing help reduce air pollution damage. It also can reduce municipal costs through reduced power plants, transmission/distribution lines and more.

For more on this report, click here to read the full document.