New York State Tackles Electrification, Embodied Carbon

New York City and Ithaca, New York, recently passed legislation meant to decarbonize the built environment, and now similar efforts may be spreading throughout the state, thanks to moves proposed by Governor Kathy Hochul. The governor also recently signed a bill paving the way for procurement of low-embodied-carbon concrete for State projects.

The governor’s sweeping plan supporting building decarbonization will involve new executive policies as well as passage of legislation that together would:

  • Phase out all onsite operational fossil fuel emissions from new construction by 2027
  • End the legal obligation to provide natural gas infrastructure
  • Increase the rate of electrification to 200,000 homes per year by 2030
  • Focus on low-income households with establishment of a green electrification fund

In addition, the plan would update appliance efficiency standards, require energy benchmarking for large buildings, and provide for skilled workforce training.

Recently signed legislation also calls for creation of performance-based specification guidelines for low-embodied-carbon concrete for public projects and requires contractors to certify that concrete used in these projects meets the specification. “State Assembly member Robert Carroll (D-Brooklyn), who sponsored the bill, says it will help New York reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050 and serve as an influence for other states as well as private industry,” writes James Leggate of Engineering News-Record.

“We’re not going to meet our goals of reducing emissions if we don’t decarbonize the industry, and concrete is one of the most polluting industries,” the publication quotes Carroll as saying.

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