The state of New York has taken steps to ensure its building decarbonization plan is on track, but more work needs to be done.
Earlier this year, the state implemented an all-electric buildings law, which prohibits installation of fossil-fuel systems in new buildings. The law takes effect for small buildings in 2026, and in 2029 for large buildings.
Deb Peck Kelleher, deputy director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, described the work being done to decarbonize older buildings.
“Through NYSERDA, the state’s research and development authority which offers incentives and rebates for homeowners and building owners to make those investments in their homes to weatherize them, to insulate, and to electrify them by installing heat pumps,” Kelleher outlined.
Utility companies in the state also offer the incentives. State-level incentives for cold-climate air source heat pumps can be $2,000 to $3,000 for whole-home solutions. The Inflation Reduction Act provides additional funding for incentives.
In the next legislative session, there are hopes to pass bills aimed at furthering the state’s decarbonization goal. One such bill is the New York HEAT Act, which was passed by the state Senate, although it failed in the Assembly in the last legislative session.
Kelleher described what the law is designed to do.
“As we start to decarbonize, our goal is to decarbonize in less than 30 years, so how do we pay off that infrastructure that we’re no longer going to need?” Kelleher asked. “That is part of what the HEAT Act does. It takes a look at how can we disinvest from this infrastructure in an appropriate way that’s fair and equal for all New Yorkers.”
She noted New York’s old building stock and skyscrapers make decarbonization a bit more challenging. Kelleher said it’s important to have a trained workforce to educate homeowners about the best options for weatherization and electrification.
Edwin is a reporter and producer in North Tonawanda, New York. He’s previously reported for the Niagara Gazette and the Ithaca Times. Edwin got an early start in radio interning for WBFO-88.7FM, NPR’s Buffalo affiliate. In 2018, he graduated from SUNY Buffalo State College with a B.A. in Journalism, and in 2022, graduated from Syracuse University with an M.S. in Communications.