New York City is poised to electrify nearly all new buildings in the coming years after city legislators voted Wednesday for the measure designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution. The Big Apple is the latest in a growing drumbeat of dozens of municipalities across the country moving to cut their climate pollution by electrifying new buildings. The legislation, which Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign, requires electricity-powered heat and hot water in — with a few exceptions — all new buildings under seven stories by 2024 and all other buildings in 2027.
As the country’s largest city electrifies its buildings, which account for almost 70% of its climate pollution, increased electricity demand will boost momentum for decarbonizing the state’s electricity sector. The bill will save ratepayers money that would otherwise be spent on new gas hookups, a common utility tactic to subsidize expanding gas infrastructure, as well as reduce air pollution in general, and especially indoor air pollution caused by gas stoves. “We’re really setting the pace here,” New York City sustainability chief Ben Furnas told E&E news. “If it can be done in New York City, it can really be done anywhere.” (E&E News, Earther, New York Times $, NY1, The City, Gothamist, AP, NPR, The Verge, Grist, Washington Examiner, FOX5, CBS2, CNBC, The Hill, Reuters; Gas hookup subsidization: Earther)