The law is informed by NYC’s Local Law 154, with key variations.
Last night, New York State lawmakers passed a prohibition on fossil fuel equipment and building systems in most new construction (S4006c/A3006c). Tucked within a myriad of other provisions in New York State’s 2023-24 budget, this step makes New York the first state in the nation to require essentially all new buildings to be all-electric.
The new law delivers on a key recommendation in the NYS Climate Action Council’s Scoping Plan to require zero-emissions new construction to lower emissions from the buildings sector, which accounts for 32 percent of statewide greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation also builds on New York City’s groundbreaking Local Law 154 of 2021 (LL154), which Urban Green helped shape.
As with LL154, this new state law phases in requirements over time by building height, and includes exceptions for some uses like commercial kitchens and hospitals. But there are some differences, including enforcement through the state’s energy code, a delayed timeline, and additional exceptions for certain uses and cases where electric service cannot be reasonably provided.
Here are the key takeaways from the State’s all-electric new construction act:
1. The law only applies to new buildings.
It’s in the title, but it bears repeating: the law applies only to new construction. Existing buildings—including renovations, repairs and equipment replacements —are not covered by the law.
2. New buildings will not be able to install fossil fuel equipment starting in 2026 for small buildings and 2029 for larger ones.
The requirements prohibit the installation of fossil fuel equipment and building systems—a new term defined in the law—and are phased in by building height. The prohibition starts in 2026 for new buildings up to 7 stories tall, except for commercial and industrial buildings larger than 100,000 square feet. In 2029, new buildings of all sizes—aside from the exemptions for certain uses listed in the bill—must be built without fossil fuel equipment.
3. There are exceptions for certain uses.
Like LL154, the state bill makes exemptions for manufacturing facilities, commercial food establishments, laundromats, hospitals, crematoriums, wastewater treatment facilities, and emergency backup power.
The state law also exempts new agricultural buildings, manufactured homes, car washes, other medical facilities beyond hospitals, and critical infrastructure including emergency management facilities. It also exempts fuel cell systems, although the law does not clearly define those systems.
4. The law will be implemented through the energy code.
The law directs all-electric new construction to be implemented and enforced under the state energy code, which determines how buildings are built and designed to use energy. Last year, the Advanced Codes and Standards Law required that future energy codes be designed to achieve energy efficiency and—for the first time ever—greenhouse gas reductions outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). Today’s law further cements the role of the energy code in helping to meet state climate targets.
5. The PSC will have a role in deciding grid readiness.
To address concerns about grid readiness, the law tasks the Public Service Commission (PSC) with determining whether the grid can reasonably support the additional load of new all-electric buildings. The law only applies to new buildings—which make up approximately 0.2% of the state’s building stock—and utilities already have well-established, standard practices in place to assess and approve the interconnection of new electricity loads.
Published May 3, 2023
Danielle is responsible for advocacy, analysis and collaboration on Urban Green’s policy initiatives in New York City and State. She previously worked at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University’s Earth Institute researching and communicating local climate risk information for stakeholders in global cities and ecosystems, and served as project manager for the Third New York City Panel on Climate Change Report. Danielle also worked for nonprofits in Buffalo on environmental education and advocacy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University at Buffalo.
All-electric new buildings law
Groundbreaking legislation phases fossil fuels out of new construction starting in 2024.
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