July 19, 2021
by: Adam Roberts
Dry Seal Type Gasholder. Image: Jonathan Landells via Wikimedia Commons.
Dry Seal Type Gasholder. Image: Jonathan Landells via Wikimedia Commons.

Last month, Int. 2317-2021 was introduced in the New York City Council, which would essentially ban new fossil fuel hookups. AIANY has long advocated for the electrification of buildings, which this bill would promote. The use of fossil fuels to power buildings is a significant contributor to climate change and air pollution, creates unnecessary safety hazards on job sites and in buildings, and forces New Yorkers to be reliant on a power source with an unreliable supply chain.

This bill is a continuation of years of advocacy work by AIANY and other groups seeking to require buildings to be designed and built more sustainably. In New York City, buildings contribute nearly 70% of the city’s carbon emissions, making them essential to mitigating climate change and improving air quality. While Local Law 97 of 2019, which mandates that large buildings stay under emissions limits, is going into effect shortly, that law does not require electrification. Without new legislation, buildings can continue to be newly designed or retrofitted with fossil fuel hookups.

While generally a leader in sustainable design, New York City is behind much of the country on electrification. Cities throughout the country have been enacting bans on new fossil fuel hookups for the last few years. Even in New York State, New York City would not be the first municipality to limit new fossil fuel hookups. Ithaca recently updated its energy code to require that, starting in 2026, new buildings must be fossil fuel-free, with gas only allowed for cooking and industrial uses.

Int. 2317-2021 represents a major step towards electrification. Nevertheless, AIANY is recommending that the bill undergo some important changes before it becomes law. You can read AIANY’s statement of support and list of recommendations here.

Pulse Points:

  • The round by round ranked-choice voting results are now available for the June 22, Democratic Primary. AIANY’s Highly Rated candidates performed very well, with Brad Lander winning the Comptroller’s race and Mark Levine winning the Manhattan Borough President’s race. While Kathryn Garcia did not win the Mayor’s race, she came within a few thousand votes of victory. We congratulate them and all the successful candidates on their hard-fought victories.
  • New York Passive House invites you to a Local Law 97 Passive House Town Hall. LL97 requires that large buildings in NYC stay under emissions limits. The Town Hall will explore Passive House as a strategy for reaching the landmark legislation’s efficiency mandates while making the city more equitable and affordable. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who recently won the Democratic Primary for the city’s 6th Council District, will provide welcoming remarks. You can register here.


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