New York elected officials are calling on the General Assembly to pass legislation to transition new buildings off fossil fuels, saying it would make the state cleaner and healthier.
The All-Electric Building Act would require new buildings to have all-electric appliances for space and water heating and cooking by 2023. It also would mandate state agencies to identify policies to make electricity more affordable and accessible for low-income residents.
Dominic Frongillo, co-Founder of Elected Officials to Protect America, said it is about saving lives and money.
“Right here in New York, air pollution from burning gas and buildings leads to about 1,000 deaths a year and most of those are in communities of color,” Frongillo reported. “It’s a real, real harm to our public health.”
The bill received a hearing last week and must be passed by the end of the legislative session June 2.
William Reinhardt, an Albany County legislator, and a former professional energy analyst with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said in the long run, it makes the most sense economically to introduce new technologies through new construction.
“If you compare an all-electric building, new construction now, to a fossil-fuel building with central air conditioning, again new construction, so we are comparing apples to apples, the all-electric building is actually cheaper,” Reinhardt pointed out.
Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019, New York is mandating 70% of all electricity generated in New York be from renewable sources by 2030. Officials say getting all newly-constructed buildings to be fossil fuel-free is key to achieving the goal.
Emily Scott is a reporter and producer in Philadelphia. She previously worked at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station and is a 2018 graduate of Temple University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Now she reports for the Public News Service as part of the New York News Connection. Click here to support their mission! Send them an email at [email protected].