10 Yrs Post Sandy, Advocates, Electeds Rally around Climate-Friendly Homes; Tell NYS to Electrify Buildings!
Residents celebrate the benefits of highly-efficient, all-electric living, and call on Albany lawmakers to ensure a transition to affordable climate friendly homes for all New Yorkers
BRONX, NY (10/28/2022) (readMedia)-- On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, advocates, electeds, residents, and more gathered in the Bronx to call on Albany lawmakers to prioritize and pass the All-Electric Buildings Act (A. 8431 Gallagher/S. 6843 Kavanagh) and Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Act (A. 9329 Fahy/S. 8198 Krueger). The group met outside 700 E. 134th Street at a building which the Association for Energy Affordability is converting from oil to electric heat and hot water.
Making New York's buildings more climate-friendly with the All-Electric Buildings and Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Acts will protect New Yorkers from the rising costs associated with our current infrastructure, which relies on dirty fossil fuels. As New York shifts to clean, homegrown renewable electricity for heating, residents will be protected from the kind of price spikes we're experiencing due to wars and dependence on global energy markets.
"In the ten years since Hurricane Sandy, extreme weather has become even more frequent and destructive due to our dependence on fossil fuels; New York's buildings account for a full one-third of the state's greenhouse gas emissions. The fact is we cannot afford the ongoing harm, and mounting costs, that continued reliance on fossil gas is inflicting on our communities. Modern heating and cooling technologies are the safe, efficient, and cost-effective way forward to an equitable clean energy future. We need Albany lawmakers to get on board by passing the All-Electric Buildings Act and the Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Act now," said Betta Broad, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for the Association for Energy Affordability.
"Ten years after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, we are at the precipice of climate catastrophe-or a cleaner, greener, healthier environment for all. The choice is ours. My colleagues and I have introduced a set of common sense legislation that will not only curb planet-killing emissions and accelerate the clean energy transition but save New Yorkers money, protect their health and create tens of thousands of good-paying green jobs. It's time to pass the Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Act and the All-Electric Buildings Act," said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, sponsor of the All-Electric Buildings Act.
"The heat pump my building recently installed is a huge improvement. It's not just more efficient - it's improved our quality of life. The temperature stays consistent and comfortable from room to room. Every New Yorker deserves this massive improvement," said Lissa Nicolas, Brooklyn homeowner.
"As we are on the path to become homeowners , one of the first things we're prioritizing is to become more energy efficient. We're now in the process of transitioning from combusting fossil fuels onsite to all-electric heating and cooling. We're going to be able to control our heating and cooling systems by unit and avoid winter heating price spikes - all while reducing our impact on the climate. It's a win on all fronts, and more New Yorkers deserve this opportunity!" said Courtland Hankins, tenant board member, soon to be co-op homeowner.
"With natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy becoming more frequent, New York must confront the climate crisis by passing measures to end our State's dependency on highly contaminating fossil fuels," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "By ensuring residential buildings and homes are all-electric and climate-friendly, we will reduce dangerous indoor greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that our living spaces are healthy for all New Yorkers, especially in disproportionately impacted communities like The Bronx."
"We must reduce our carbon footprint that's contributing to the greenhouse gas effects resulting in extreme weather conditions threatening lives across the globe. This building's transition to electric from natural "fracked" gas is an important step forward," says Mychal Johnson, co-founder of South Bronx Unite.
"As we recognize the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, and the harm it inflicted on our communities, I am compelled to point out that so much work still needs to be done," said Lonnie Portis, Environmental Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. "We need to transition from fossil fuels, to decarbonize and electrify our buildings, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution that disproportionately hurts low-income families of color in New York City."
The All-Electric New Buildings Act will ban gas hookups in new buildings across New York State, requiring them to be all-electric with appliances like energy efficient heat pumps for heating, cooling, and hot water, and modern induction cooktops. Last year, New York City passed its own version of the All-Electric Buildings Act, banning fossil fuel heating systems in new buildings and gut renovations across the city starting in 2024.
The Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Act ensures that New York State will be able to meet the crucial climate justice and greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act for buildings without sticking everyday New Yorkers with the bill for misguided expansion of the gas system. It will allow gas utilities to invest in safer, cheaper, non-pipe alternatives to new gas infrastructure to protect New Yorkers from spiraling infrastructure costs and enable zero emissions alternatives to the gas system. It also puts a price cap of 6% of annual income on electricity bills for low and middle-income consumers to ensure electricity stays affordable.
New York State's nation-leading Climate Act requires us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, and 85% by 2050. But buildings, using fossil fueled furnaces, boilers, and hot water heaters, make up one-third of New York State's greenhouse gas emissions every year. By replacing our dirty gas-powered appliances with super efficient electric ones - powered by the 100% emissions free electricity we will have by 2040, New York will be the leading state in the fight against climate change while making our buildings and our air safe and healthy.
Shifting New York's buildings from gas to electric isn't just crucial for the fight against climate change - it's also a public health imperative. New York leads the nation in premature deaths caused by the nitrous dioxide and particulate matter that comes from burning fossil fuels in buildings for heating, cooking, and hot water. Gas stoves release these pollutants directly inside homes and have been shown to increase asthma symptoms in children by 42%.
BBNY is a network of organizations working for the equitable decarbonization of homes and buildings in New York State. We are committed to environmental justice and a just transition to all-electric homes and buildings.