Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed into local law a mandate phasing out the combustion of fossil fuels in new buildings and accelerating the construction of all-electric buildings. The law, the first of its kind for a large cold-weather city, represents a major shift in how buildings use energy to provide heating and cooling, by prioritizing air quality, public health, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
“New York City is proof that it’s possible to end the era of fossil fuels, invest in a sustainable future, protect public health, and create good-paying jobs in the process,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “If the largest city in America can take this critical step to ban gas use, any city can do the same! Thank you to the City Council for getting this done. This is how to fight back against climate change on the local level and guarantee a green city for generations to come.”
“This is a historic step towards reaching our carbon neutrality goals and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability. “In addition to tackling the climate crisis, all-electric buildings help protect the health of vulnerable New Yorkers, like our children and the elderly, by improving the quality of our air indoors.”
The new law sets restrictions on fossil fuel usage in newly constructed residential and commercial buildings by phasing in strict emissions limits beginning in 2023, bringing immediate climate and health benefits to New Yorkers at launch. The benefits exponentially increase as more buildings are covered by the law and as the grid gets cleaner in line with the City’s existing commitment to 100% clean electricity. Buildings of all sizes must be constructed fully electric by 2027. The new law provides limited exemptions for certain uses, such as commercial kitchens and emergency or standby power. It also requires the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability to conduct studies on heat pump technology and electrical grid readiness.
New York City has already been a global leader in building emissions reductions, notably through the passage and implementation of the Climate Mobilization Act and its centerpiece, Local Law 97, which places caps on greenhouse gas emissions from existing large buildings. By signing Intro. 2317 into law, New York City is once again leading the charge toward building decarbonization. Research by the Rocky Mountain Institute finds that the law will prevent 2.1 million tons of carbon emissions by 2040 — equivalent to taking 450,000 cars off the road for a year. The new law will help accelerate a green transition and help achieve the City’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent the most devastating impacts of the climate crisis. The law also prioritizes the health of New Yorkers by restricting the installation of fossil fuel appliances, which are a primary source of indoor air pollution, like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, that harm lung and heart health.
“I want to extend my thanks to all the advocates, and especially to Council Member Ampry-Samuel and Chair Gennaro for their leadership to pass this legislation. We must take aggressive measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The science is indisputable – if we don’t make changes now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt global warming, our planet, and our city will suffer long-standing and irreversible effects,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“I am proud to support Intro. 2317, a historic bill that will ultimately lead us to an all-electric City powered by a 100 percent green and renewable grid, and will be a beacon for the rest of the country on its journey towards carbon neutrality. By requiring new construction to be all-electric, we are committing to a greener, healthier future, eliminating harmful pollutants from our atmosphere and improving New York City’s air quality,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “I am proud to have worked to pass this legislation out of my committee with the Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, and thank her for her leadership in introducing this landmark legislation and to advance and craft this bill.”
“Studies show that the greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution produced by burning fossil fuels disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color. That is why this legislation is such a big step forward for environmental justice in New York City, where approximately 70 percent of the emissions come from burning fossil fuels in buildings,”
“Studies show that the greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution produced by burning fossil fuels disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color. That is why this legislation is such a big step forward for environmental justice in New York City, where approximately 70 percent of the emissions come from burning fossil fuels in buildings,” said Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice in Harlem, NY. “We thank Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel for sponsoring the bill, Speaker Corey Johnson and the rest of the New York City Council for passing it, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for signing it into law.”
“New York City has set ambitious goals to tackle the climate crisis, and this bill to electrify new buildings is a critical step that takes bold action to reduce the largest source of emissions in the City,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “This collaboration between the public and private sector will create green jobs, fuel the clean energy economy, and reduce our use of fossil fuels and climate pollution. We thank the bill’s sponsor Council Member Alicka Amprey-Samuel, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and the Mayor for signing this important policy into law.”
“We’re here today due to a simple and powerful truth: furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters emit more carbon in NYC than all uses of electricity combined,” said John Mandyck, CEO of Urban Green Council. “This law begins to change that reality — to tackle our largest source of carbon — so we get to the climate future we want with better air to breathe.”
“Today, New York City is celebrating. For students like myself, working on the Gas Free NYC campaign means fighting for a future with breathable air and safe, resilient communities. Our members live in neighborhoods dealing with air pollution and climate change impacts every day. As the largest city in the country with a gas ban, New York City is showing what real climate leadership looks like,” said Sadiya Hoque, NYPIRG Board of Directors Chairperson.
“Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in New York doesn’t stay in New York. Where New York City leads today, the state and nation follow tomorrow,” said Food & Water Watch Senior Organizer Eric Weltman. “New York has struck a powerful blow against the fossil fuel industry. New York has taken a major step forward in moving off fossil fuels. And, once again, thanks to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council, New York has shown the nation what climate leadership looks like.”
“As someone whose family lost everything during Sandy, today’s bill signing makes me very proud to be a New Yorker,” said Rachel Rivera, a member of New York Communities for Change. “Local Law 97, fossil fuel divestment and now a gas ban on new construction make New York the nation’s and maybe the world’s leader on climate action at a local level.”
“As architects, we have the highest responsibility to incorporate practices and methods into the built environment to make our buildings healthier and safer, while reducing our carbon footprint,” said Ken Lewis, 2021 President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York. “Today’s bill is another part of NYC’s plan to meet our climate change goals of zero-carbon, as well as create a healthier and safer environment for our children and children’s children. New York deserves that from all of us.”
“As an organization dedicated to ensuring that sustainability is a key component of affordable housing development, RiseBoro is proud to support the ongoing effort to decarbonize buildings,” said Scott Short, CEO of RiseBoro Community Partnership. “RiseBoro continues to advocate for improving the quality of life and reducing utility costs, and Intro 2317 will help produce safer healthier apartments.”
“New York City’s new law will deliver all-electric homes and buildings that no longer burn gas and oil for heating and cooking, eliminating ambient and indoor air pollution from combustion. It will also significantly reduce and eventually eliminate emissions that contribute to climate change as the electrical grid fully transitions to renewable energy supplied by wind and solar,” said Samantha Wilt, Senior Policy Analyst at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “These emission limits and the resulting new clean, electrified buildings will help pave the way for transforming all our homes and buildings into healthier, climate-friendly places to live, work, and learn in the coming decades.”
“Buildings drive New York’s greenhouse gas emissions, which means that each new building is an opportunity to help the City meet its climate goals. We can meet this opportunity through Intro 2317 and electrifying our new homes, offices, and schools,” said Rachael Grace, Senior Policy Director at Rewiring America.
“New York City has once again shown commendable leadership in charting a path forward on another intractable climate problem: how to start electrifying the City’s million buildings. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions will go down, New Yorkers will enjoy better local air quality, and communities around the country will have a replicable model for their own building decarbonization efforts,” said Amy Turner, Senior Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.
“New York City is setting the stage on climate action for the rest of the country by passing this critical legislation to prevent the use of fossil fuels in new buildings. Fossil fuel use in buildings not only contributes to the climate crisis, but is also a major source of air pollution, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. Earthjustice applauds Mayor de Blasio, City Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel and the tireless community advocates who did not rest until this legislation was passed. Today’s move is a marker that fossil fuels are a thing of the past,” said Hillary Aidun, Associate Attorney at Earthjustice.