New Yorkers for Clean Power + over 50 environmental, labor, health and housing organizations signed a letter to the New York Congressional Delegation for green affordable housing & jobs in the federal infrastructure bill. We are now calling for the passing of Assembly Bill A8143, in relation to Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2021.

Sections of the letter are below.

Dear Members of the New York Congressional Delegation:

As you consider President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, we, the undersigned organizations, urge you to seize this extraordinary opportunity to address the climate, housing, and unemployment challenges facing our country by passing an infrastructure package that will put people to work building, weatherizing, and retrofitting at least four million affordable, energy-efficient homes in the next four years

By combining investments in healthy housing and energy retrofits with investments in green jobs training and apprenticeships, the infrastructure bill would create quality jobs in communities where they are most needed…

Specifically, we urge that the infrastructure bill contain the following: 

Expanding green affordable housing 

  • Commit to a target of one million new energy-efficient, all-electric affordable rental housing units to address the affordable housing crisis facing the nation and the shortage of long-term rental housing. Expand and align federal housing programs, (including HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Public Housing Capital Fund, Community Development Block Grants, and USDA’s Rural Housing Services Program) to meet this target. 
  • Double to one million the number of new and rehabilitated homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, proposed in the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act and called for in the American Jobs Plan, and include requirements that buildings be climate resilient, energy efficient and all-electric. 
  • Support passage of the Housing is Infrastructure Act, which provides resources to build new affordable housing and preserve existing housing by addressing deferred maintenance in public housing, rural housing, and housing for other vulnerable populations.  

Decarbonizing existing low- and moderate-income homes and buildings

  • Commit to a target of weatherizing and decarbonizing two million affordable homes and housing units, and expand and align federal weatherization and rehabilitation programs to meet this target (U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program, and HUD’s Community Development Block Grants). 
  • Modernize the definition of weatherization to include clean energy technologies, as detailed in the Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act.  
  • Increase the funding level for the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator from $27 billion as proposed by the American Jobs Plan to $100 billion, and commit at least 40 percent of funds to investments in disadvantaged communities.  
  • Include $172 billion to retrofit the public housing stock through the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act.
  • Update the grant program through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for replacement/repair of boilers/furnaces to enable upgrades to energy-efficient heat pumps. 
  • Support a long-term extension and enhancement of the Section 48 and Section 25D investment tax credits for ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs), and provide full parity between GSHPs and other renewable energy technologies in federal incentives. 
  • Provide Clean Energy Block Grants, as proposed by the American Jobs Plan, to state, local, and tribal governments for enacting policies to achieve sector-specific or economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reductions. 

Advance healthy housing in low-income disadvantaged communities

  • Pair federal investment in energy efficiency with funding to eliminate  housing-related health hazards, including: 
    • $1 billion in funding emergency roof repairs.
    • $2.4 billion to improve indoor air quality and mitigate the risk of respiratory illnesses, including asthma and allergies.

Green Jobs & workforce development 

  • Dedicate new workforce development funding specifically to green jobs training, targeted at underserved groups and getting our students on paths to clean-energy careers before they graduate from high school.
  • Include wrap-around services as a part of job training programs (e.g., transportation and childcare) so that individuals from disadvantaged communities can fully take advantage of these programs, helping to address persistent inequalities in income and wealth.
  • Pass the HOPE for Homes Act to provide grants for workforce training in energy efficiency and rebates to make energy efficiency retrofits and beneficial electrification more affordable. 
  • Include funding for the Administration’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps to provide training and green jobs for young people.
  • Ensure that funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions, community college facilities as proposed in the American Jobs Plan prioritizes educational training programs in building efficiency, heat-pump installation, and other green building professions. Include additional funding for campus energy efficiency and electrification, such as district thermal heating, to provide students with on-the-job experience.

Read the full letter here

Take Action to Decarbonize NY’s Buildings!

  • 2) Send a message to NYS leaders to support advancing building codes and appliance standards
  • 3) Submit a Comment to the Public Service Commission for a Gas Plan that is aligned with the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA)
  • 4) Submit a Comment to the Public Service Commission for a Better Benefit Cost Analysis in NYS
1) Send a Letter to Your Town Board or City Council to Adopt NYStretch Energy Code 2020

The NYStretch Energy Code 2020 is a voluntary, readily adoptable energy code that calls for higher efficiency standards in new and renovated building construction projects. With NYStretch, towns and cities can reduce GHG emissions, use less energy and reduce living and operational costs! You can learn more about NYStretch Codes on NYSERDA’s website here. 

You can copy the below message as a template for your own letter to send to your town or city officials:

Dear [Supervisor/Mayor] and [Town/City Board/Council]

Cc: Energy Code Official

As a community member concerned for our [town’s/city’s] public and environmental health, I am urging you to adopt NYStretch Energy Code 2020 for the [town/city of ______]. This latest energy code model will lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with new and existing buildings, and is cost-effective and readily adoptable with minimal changes by our local government. Buildings that are built to NYStretch requirements save 10–12% in energy costs over those built to the 2020 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State (ECCCNYS).

Adopting the NYStretch 2020 building code is a key high impact action of the NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities program and Action Grants of up to $50,000 are provided to municipalities that adopt the NY Stretch Code. The grants are given on a “first come, first serve” basis so please act quickly. NYSERDA also offers free/low cost training to local code officials to improve compliance with the energy code 

Keeping our building stock up to date will increase property values, develop our existing workforce expertise in new technologies, and reduce living and operational costs with lower utility bills and better building envelopes. According to NYSERDA’s cost analysis, the additional building costs will pay for themselves in less than 10 years for residential buildings and 3 to 12 years for various types of commercial buildings, even after accounting for the additional property taxes paid due to higher value buildings.

Key NYStretch Energy Code 2020 updates in commercial or residential include:

  • Envelope: improved insulation and window performance, air-barrier commissioning, and air-leakage testing 
  • Lighting: reduced interior and exterior lighting power and lighting controls 
  • Electrical: whole-building energy monitoring 
  • Renewable and electric vehicle readiness 
  • Mandatory mechanical ventilation for residential buildings

You can download the NYStretch Energy Code 2020 and associated toolkit at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Energy-Code-Training/NYStretch-Energy-Code-2020. I have also attached the fact sheet for NYStretch 2020, and you can reach out to codes@nyserda.ny.gov for more information.

Please consider this improvement to our [town’s/city’s] new buildings. 

Sincerely,

[Name]

[Town/City]

2) Send a message to NYS leaders to support advancing building codes and appliance standards

Sign here to send to the NYS Assembly - Please Support the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act

This petition is now closed.

End date: Jun 21, 2021

Signatures collected: 34

34 signatures

New York can save a lot of money and reduce greenhouse gases right NOW! 

Bill #S7176 is waiting to be passed in the New York State Legislature that is foundational to achieve New York’s nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). If we can get it passed, it will modernize the state’s building codes and expand state appliance standards which will reduce energy used and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for decades to come, while at the same time saving New Yorkers billions of dollars on their utility bills. But time is running out, the session ends June 10! More info here

Please add your name to the petition to the left to send a message to the NYS Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee members and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie so they can see how much support there is for this crucial climate bill – the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act.

Full Petition Message Below:

We urge you, our legislative leaders, to support the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act.

Bill #S7176 is foundational to implement the Legislature’s nation-leading climate law, the CLCPA, by modernizing the state’s building codes and expanding state appliance standards which will reduce energy used and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for decades to come, while at the same time saving New Yorkers billions of dollars on their utility bills.

The bill updates the mechanics for establishing the next state building code; incorporating lifecycle cost analysis, and including GHG emissions in the cost-effectiveness analysis.

The bill will also yield enormous cost and GHG savings with new energy and water standards for appliances and products; including commonly used products such as televisions, computers and lighting used to illuminate large public areas.

New appliance standards will provide annual savings to New York households and businesses of $1.3 billion in 2030, with $500 million of those savings for low- and moderate-income families, approximately $135 per household. All told, New Yorkers will save $17.6 billion over the lifetime of the appliances and buildings. In addition to these cost savings, the electricity, oil, gas, and water savings will result in a total of 17 million metric tons of CO2e emissions over the lifetime of measures in place by 2030.

It is crucial that this bill passes this session so that New Yorkers can start to benefit from the real cost and carbon savings from energy code and appliance standards, and we lock in a more efficient built environment for decades to come.

Thank you for your ongoing leadership to achieve our nation-leading climate goals and reduce the utility bills of New Yorkers.

Your Signature

3) Take Action for NYS to align gas planning to with the state climate law – the CLCPA

New York’s energy regulators recently released the long-awaited “Gas Planning White Paper,” revealing their plan for our state’s gas utilities. Unfortunately, their plan, while making some improvements to business as usual, does not demonstrate a path for phasing out gas. Regulators brazenly ignored 190 elected officials and 130 organizations that called for a “managed, equitable, affordable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.” Now we need to tell them to go back to the drawing board and come up with a real plan.

Submit a Comment to the Public Service Commission for a Gas Plan that is aligned with the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA)

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Here is the sample comment:

Dear Secretary Phillips:

The Gas Planning White Paper, released this past February 12th has very narrow parameters requiring the utilities to make incremental changes and does not fulfill a comprehensive gas plan “consistent with the CLCPA,” New York’s climate law, and “meaningfully advance State clean energy policies” and “combat climate change.” It is your responsibility as regulators to come back with a White Paper that truly aligns the utilities with the CLCPA.  

We are relieved to see some incremental shifts towards reducing emissions from utilities, such as small improvements to utility planning processes, incorporating important changes to cost benefit analyses at the heart of utility decision-making, and requiring utilities to propose “no-infrastructure” options alongside proposed gas investments. We are also supportive of the key proposal to require utilities to model gas infrastructure investment costs based on fully depreciating them by 2050, which, if enacted, will demonstrate how expensive gas investments are when compared to alternatives. But the proposal falls short of providing clear gas reduction goals for utilities to meet in line with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and makes no mention of the law’s requirement for equitable funding for and the avoidance of disproportionate impacts on New York’s most vulnerable communities.   

In summary, the White Paper on gas planning fails to achieve the following:

  • Recognize the risks and harms of gas or acknowledge that gas is an accelerant to climate change.
  • Account for (or even reference) the input of community advocates and environmental groups.
  • Center marginalized communities or even mention environmental justice.
  • Provide guidance and resources to municipalities, developers, and contractors so that they can plan.
  • Lay out emissions reduction requirements for gas utilities in alignment with CLCPA.
  • Address affordability for clean energy alternatives to gas, such as heat pumps.
  • Provide guidance for an orderly and equitable phase out the gas distribution infrastructure.
  • End current ratepayer funded subsidies for gas, or even account for them.
  • Provide a pathway for renewable district thermal energy that serves whole neighborhoods or communities.
  • Halt new investments in gas infrastructure expansion.
  • Address the need for affordable, reliable electric power supply to support building electrification.

We wholly reject false solutions for decarbonizing the utility gas system such as compressed natural gas (CNG) supplied by truck or train, renewable natural gas (RNG), hydrogen, and biofuel.

We urge that the Commission send DPS staff back to the drawing board for a comprehensive look at utility gas and come back with a White Paper that is truly “thoughtful,” “strategic,” “comprehensive,” and “far reaching” as this one claims to be. A managed, equitable, affordable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is in the public interest of all New Yorkers.

4) Take Action for a Better Benefit Cost Analysis in NYS

The purpose of the Benefit Cost Analysis is to provide a common methodology for calculating the benefits and costs of projects and investments for utilities. To learn more about the BCA and what should be considered in the state’s and utilities calculations, view our online teach-in from 02.18.2021 here, and speaker slides here.

Submit the Below Comment to the Public Service Commission for a Better Benefit Cost Analysis in NYS - click the "read or edit" link directly below if you would like to add to this comment.

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Proceeding on Motion of the Commission 

in Regard to Gas Planning Procedures

Case Number: 20-G-0131 

Comment in response to the Staff Gas System Planning Proposal

We call for a benefit cost analysis (BCA) that accurately compares the health and environmental costs and benefits of gas infrastructure, energy efficiency measures (including electric and thermal EE), and renewable heating options. Only with clear direction from the Public Service Commission can we make the urgently needed transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and achieve our state mandates. 

We urge the Commission to develop a comprehensive and transparent BCA that accounts for health and environmental effects and includes:

  • Transparency in decision making so that New Yorkers can understand what costs and benefits are being considered when decisions are made that directly impact them. 
  • Independent experts available to present a simple and transparent accounting of the costs and benefits being considered and the relevant justifications for inclusion and exclusion of costs and benefits.
  • Quantifiable health costs, including the cost of indoor and outdoor air pollution, with a particular focus on cumulative impacts on environmental justice communities
  • The environmental and health costs of other pollutants and greenhouse gasses other than carbon.
  • The environmental and health costs of energy insecurity or inefficiency.
  • The environmental and health costs of extreme weather events, both preparing for, and rebuilding after an event. 
  • Reflects the DEC’s recently released Value of Carbon Guidance Document.
  • The environmental and health benefits of energy efficiency and weatherization as well as other improvements to housing conditions, particularly when programs are targeted to households in disadvantaged communities.
  • A clear process for acknowledging and accounting for benefits & costs that are not easily quantifiable, but that should be taken into account.
  • Convening a cross-sector work group to quantify other costs and benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency to be included in future BCA calculations. 

Thank you for your attention on this important matter.

Sincerely,