Take Action to Decarbonize NY’s Buildings!

  • 1) Submit a Comment to the Public Service Commission for a Better Benefit Cost Analysis in NYS
  • 2) Send a Letter to Your Town Board or City Council to Adopt NYStretch 2020
1) 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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Here is the sample comment:

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.


2) 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.