New buildings in New York must switch to electricity after gas ban

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NEW YORK CITY (TheRealDeal) – City council is set to ban the use of gas in new buildings, forcing most to use electric heating and hot water.

Lawmakers reached agreement Wednesday night on a bill requiring new buildings under seven stories to be electrically powered on January 1, 2024 and larger ones after July 1, 2027. Projects including construction documents are approved before these dates will be exempt.

A building with less than seven storeys and at least half of its units subject to an affordable housing regulatory agreement is exempt from the requirement if construction documents are approved by December 31, 2025. A new, taller, equipped building of such an agreement will have another two years beyond that.

Some fossil fuel fuels in new buildings will be permitted, but not for heating and hot water. The measure allows the combustion of 25 kilograms of carbon dioxide per million UK thermal units of energy or more if it has nothing to do with the heat or hot water of the building and is only used intermittently .

This threshold excludes natural gas (53 kilograms) and fuel oil (70 kilograms), according to the United States Energy Information Administration. But the requirements do not apply to the use of fossil fuels when they are necessary for the manufacture or operation of a laboratory, laundromat, hospital, crematorium or facility. a commercial kitchen.

According to New York Communities for Change, a group that has advocated for the measure, city council will vote on the bill next week. The Council is notorious for scheduling votes only for bills that have enough support to pass.

“The evidence is clear: an immediate shift to the gas-free building requirement is both feasible and necessary,” a coalition led by NYCC, NYPIRG, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and Food & Water Watch said in a statement. “We have the technology and the skills to build fully electric buildings, many of which are already built or under construction across the city. “

The amended measure, sponsored by council member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, delays the ban on gas and oil: an earlier version applied to new construction and major renovations within two years of its passage. The latest wording of the bill is closer to the Blasio administration’s request to ban gas connections by 2030.

This also does not appear to apply to renovations, a mandate that was not clearly defined in the original bill and which had been a point of contention, and which would likely have further delayed negotiations. The mayor and most of the members of the municipal council are in their last month of mandate.

The latest version also partly adopts a phased size-based introduction favored by the real estate industry. The New York Real Estate Board backed a ban that would apply to new construction under three stories and single-family homes in 2025, buildings under 10 stories in 2027, and taller projects in 2030.

The trade group had stressed the need to test electric heat pumps in large-scale buildings and the fact that New York still relies heavily on electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.

A report from the New York Independent System Operator this month warns that the state’s power system will be less able to “withstand disruption” from 2025 and that its reliability could be compromised if planned transmission projects are delayed .

“The transition from fossil fuels is only possible if we have reliable electricity so New Yorkers can confidently turn on their heating in the winter, their air conditioning in the summer and office lights,” said James Whelan of REBNY. in a press release. statement this week. “This report is a serious wake-up call that policies need to be better coordinated with these very real risks in mind.”

Meanwhile, the state legislature could step in and speed up the process and enforce it statewide. A bill has been introduced to require new buildings to be fully electric by 2024.

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