States’ climate goals come with a big bill | News, Sports, Jobs

It will cost New York State a bundle to help homes and commercial buildings meet the CLCPA – at least $ 1 billion a year for at least a decade, just for low- and middle-income households alone.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently received recommendations from committees formed by the Climate Action Team to help the state meet the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. . The Housing and Energy Efficiency Committee delivered a 54-page report to NYSERDA with recommendations for boosting home appliance energy efficiency and converting homes and businesses to natural gas or other unsafe methods. environment in electricity.

“I know many eyes are on us as we move forward on this initiative as we put in place leading best practices and processes at the national level,” said Ruthann Visnauskas, State Commissioner for Homes and Community Renewal. “In common with the other panels, what we’re talking about here is making fundamental changes to the state building industry – our residential buildings, commercial buildings, our institutional buildings. And while these changes seem huge and gravitational, they are really needed to change the way we all make choices, the way we do business, and the way we can deliver on our promise to reduce our emissions. “

Residential properties generate more emissions than commercial buildings, and natural gas is the biggest source of emissions, according to the task force. Heating is the largest use of natural gas, followed by hot water heating and cooking. Visnauskas said the work will go beyond simply replacing devices. On-site renewable energies such as solar panels on roofs, windows, walls, insulation and on-site energy storage will be part of the state’s work for the next 10 years.

By 2040, all buildings in New York State must be equipped with emission-free electricity to power cooking, heating and hot water systems. There are 6.2 million buildings in the state – 4.9 million single-family homes, 250,000 multi-family buildings, and 370,000 commercial and institutional buildings.

The committee recommends the adoption of a new national energy code as soon as possible to guide the construction of new homes and commercial buildings. This would be followed by changing state codes by 2023 to require solar technology where possible, grid-interactive electrical devices, energy storage readiness, electrical availability for all devices, and availability of electric vehicles where parking is already provided. By 2025, state codes for new construction would require fully electric homes, with a proposed deadline of 2030 for fully electric construction of multi-family and commercial buildings.

“I want to make it clear that what the committee is proposing here is a statewide mandatory code that raises the bar,” said Janet Joseph, NYSERDA’s senior vice president for strategy and market development. “Now, it will undoubtedly take an engaged public to support these legislative, regulatory and programmatic changes. While these changes may not be easy, the panel of experts agreed that without these clear regulatory signals in addition to pro-market supports, we will not meet our critical greenhouse gas targets. From a cost perspective, this regulatory strategy will boost the scale and certainty needed to transform the market, facilitate investment and reduce costs. “

One of the most important tasks the state faces in meeting the CLCPA is converting buildings from heating and cooling systems to electricity or heat pumps. The state budget currently spends around $ 250 million on energy efficiency programs that serve low to moderate income households, and committee members believe it is necessary to spend at least $ 1 billion per year. year. This money must come, in part, from the federal government given the interest of the Biden administration in “Advancing the climate agenda and investing in infrastructure.”

Committee members advocate direct cash incentives for upgrades to electrical services and wiring and equipment in buildings as part of the creation of a modernization and electrification readiness fund.

The clock is probably ticking on gas dryers and heating ovens. By 2026, a committee of the state’s Climate Action Council wants to see the state adopt an all-electrical code for new construction, additions and modifications for single-family homes – meaning that the State would ban the use of natural gas or fuel oil for water heaters. , stoves and appliances. The same restriction could be in place by 2030 for multi-family homes and commercial buildings. The council’s energy efficiency and housing committee also wants to see zero-emission standards on gas stoves and dryers by 2035.

Another recommendation is to phase out incentives and discounts for fossil gas equipment currently offered by utilities or NYSERDA, and to prevent utilities from advertising natural gas as clean, natural, or environmentally friendly. weather. Discussion of a public awareness and consumer education plan includes the use of local elected officials, social media influences, and sponsored content in television and film productions to counter what committee members are calling a “Partisan polarization of news and information sources” and low awareness of CLCPA.

“We need a broad public education campaign to catalyze the market and demand for low carbon solutions,” Said Visnauskas. “It is essential to create a sense of shared responsibility because we want consumers to start thinking about the type of stove they want, then we want to look for heat pumps – we have to stimulate that type of behavior with repeated messages and reliable. , with data, with testimonials and with local engagement. “

By 2023, owners of buildings over 10,000 square feet are expected to file a report on NYSERDA’s total energy and water use each year. By 2025, building owners should publicly disclose the previous year’s energy use of a building, unit, or space as part of a sale or rental listing. By 2027, single-family property owners should obtain and disclose a home energy rating system before selling a property. By 2025, all building owners of properties over 25,000 square feet will be required to complete a comprehensive building energy assessment at least once per decade that assesses building systems, identifies ways to invest in energy efficient upgrades , an electrician or a preparation for the electrification of the building systems.

“The magnitude of the problem also requires a far-reaching solution”, Said Visnauskas. “The scale of the effort is quite daunting. … About 70% of buildings were built before the energy code. So they weren’t really designed to be energy efficient and these buildings will really need investment and modernization. But the opportunity here is to improve the quality of our existing housing and also to see new residential and commercial buildings built to new standards. This will require new resources. It will take new legislation and we need to do this job with a fairness lens. We want to make sure we are focused on helping with the transition for all communities in our state, especially those that are traditionally underserved.

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