Upcoming State Policies: Reducing Emissions In Our Buildings

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), passed in 2019, established emission goals for New York to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses it puts by 85% by 2050. Now, elected officials are considering three bills that would allow New York to take the first steps towards these goals. 

The All-Electric Building Act would switch the on-site heating and cooking in new buildings away from natural gas, propane, and oil heaters to zero on-site emission sources like heat pumps and induction stoves. Sponsored by  Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, this bill would put New York on a pathway to zero on-site emissions in new construction. 

This bill would start to take effect in 2023, with all new construction (minus some special cases) covered by 2027. 

Another bill focused on reducing emissions, the Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Act, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Pat Fahy, would require the Public Service Commission to make gas utilities align their rate cases with the goals of the CLCPA, including transition plans to equitably decrease gas usage overall. The bill makes a point to focus on equity by requiring long-term planning for a reduction in natural gas use so that the transition away from fossil gas between now and 2050 will not unduly burden ratepayers or result in unaffordable bills. 

“Without long-term, comprehensive planning that centers affordability and equity, low- and moderate-income New Yorkers could find themselves shut out of the benefits of renewable green options, and bearing an increasingly large share of the cost of obsolete gas infrastructure,” said Senator Krueger

Maintaining the emphasis on equity outlined in the All-Electric Building Act, this bill would clarify that gas service for existing customers is maintained in a nondiscriminatory way, while providing the means for the orderly phase-out of fossil gas and making the transition to cleaner options equitable for all participants. 

In order to facilitate the transition to clean energy, the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2021, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblymember Pat Fahy, would amend the State Energy Conservation Construction Code, which regulates the energy conservation requirements for new buildings, to require stricter energy efficiency standards. It would also set new efficiency standards for household appliances, which can be unexpected sources of energy waste in the home. Slightly different versions of this bill have passed in each house of the legislature, and we are optimistic that an agreement on language that can pass both houses will be made before the end of session.

The New York League of Conservation Voters is prioritizing decarbonization and energy efficiency in its work in combating climate change, focusing on expanding access to clean electricity. These bills provide the basis New York needs to start building its renewable, clean infrastructure, setting the state up for success when it comes to limiting emissions and meeting targets. We urge the State Legislature to reach agreement on all three of these bills before the end of the legislative session on June 2nd.


By Dickinson-Frevola

05.06.22 // AUTHOR: Brett Spielberg //