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EXCLUSIVE: ‘All-Electric Buildings’ law part of NY building code update

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

New York’s Building Code Council is set to include the All-Electric Buildings Act in its 2025 code update.

The 2023 law bans natural gas and other fossil fuels in new buildings. All-electric cooking and heating will be required for new buildings of less than seven stories by 2026, and 2029 for taller buildings.

Michael Hernandez, New York policy director with Rewiring America, said it’s one thing to pass laws and quite another to implement them.

“It is vitally important that we stop digging ourselves in a hole by building new buildings with fossil-fuel combustion systems installed in them,” said Hernandez. “Those fossil-fuel combustion systems would be in place for the next 20 years, if not longer.”

He added that it’s impractical to install fossil-fuel systems that would be phased out before the end of its lifespan.

The council will hold a public comment period before voting on the new code language. Buildings are 32% of New York’s annual greenhouse gas emissions – making them the state’s largest emitter.

To meet its 2050 net-zero emissions goal, the state has to install 396,000 heat pumps above expected sales.

While the new language applies to new buildings, other programs exist for homeowners and building owners to go green.

Hernandez noted that funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are helping existing buildings convert to electricity.

He said this all begins with a free home energy audit from NYSERDA.

“They’ll have a qualified contractor come look at your house,” said Hernandez, “and say, ‘okay, these are the energy efficiency measures that you would benefit from, and these efficiency measures will make your energy costs go down.’ “

Those contractors can help homeowners receive state and federal rebates to implement the recommended measures.

Low-income New Yorkers can qualify for 100% of electrification and climate efficiency rebates depending on a person’s household income.

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