How we build has major climate impacts

Did you see it? The New York Times just mapped the extreme weather across the country in 2021, and Oregon’s record-breaking heat wave topped the list. The extreme heat waves that killed 107 Oregonians and broke temperature records across the state, also contributed to a particularly devastating wildfire season that burned over 10x more acreage than the year prior. These tragic events make clear that the climate crisis is growing, and we need more action at all levels to meet the challenge, which is why I’m writing to you today. The Oregon legislature is about to convene for a short month-long session, and we must make sure they make more climate progress.

Buildings are Oregon’s second-largest source of climate and air pollution, predominantly from burning methane gas and other fossil fuels. Buildings are also our first line of defense from climate harms. The key to mitigating climate emissions and protecting communities from climate-fueled wildfire smoke and extreme temperatures is to build more energy efficient, climate-friendly buildings.

Please join us in calling on your legislators to pass
the Reach code bill for climate-friendly buildings! 



Building codes are a critical tool to ensure buildings are constructed efficiently and well-insulated from the start. Numerous Oregon cities from Bend to Beaverton want to require stronger energy efficiency building standards within their jurisdictions, but Oregon’s existing state policies are holding them back. In conjunction with housing justice and energy affordability programs, the Reach code bill would allow Oregon cities and counties to move faster on climate action by opting into more efficient building standards, reducing their climate and air pollution while also saving homeowners money on energy costs for decades to come. Please contact your legislator today and demand they take climate action this year.

2021 was not just a big year for Oregon due to the deadly climate impacts; we also made tremendous climate progress last year! Countless hours of advocacy by supporters of climate action like you helped our state: 

…among several other major climate and environmental justice wins. 

The state legislature failed to pass the Reach code bill last session, however, leaving cities without this critical tool for another year. We advocated for some huge climate wins in 2021, but the climate crisis doesn’t take a year off, and neither can our elected leaders. We need climate action every year to ensure this beautiful place we call home is livable for everyone, today and into the future.

Author Bio

Meredith Connolly

Director of Policy and Strategy, Climate Solutions

Meredith brings over a decade of climate policy experience to her work to help secure needed climate progress. She advocates for innovative and equitable policy solutions to reduce climate and air pollution and create a thriving clean energy economy across the Northwest.

Meredith previously served as Climate Solutions’ Oregon Director until 2024, where she helped pass key climate laws to transition Oregon’s electric grid to 100% clean energy and electrify the buildings and transportation sectors. Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Meredith was a Climate and Energy Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. At NRDC, she advanced renewable energy policies in the U.S. and internationally. She also implemented programs to protect public health and improve climate resilience to heat waves and air pollution in India’s growing cities. Before NRDC, Meredith practiced law in the private sector.

Meredith is a member of the Oregon and California State Bar Associations. She holds a JD from Boston College Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and French from Santa Clara University. In her free time, Meredith enjoys exploring her incredible home state of Oregon with her family and rooting too loudly for the Portland Thorns and Timbers.