When New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (the Climate Act) was signed into law in 2019, it established a mandate for the most aggressive greenhouse gas reductions of any major economy. It also called for the formation of a Climate Action Council (CAC) to create a scoping plan outlining specific actions the State must take to comply with the law.
The Scoping Plan was released on December 19, 2022, and its recommendations, if approved and implemented, promise a complete overhaul of the State’s energy economy – with major impacts on transportation, buildings, electricity, industry, agriculture and more – including a near-total ban on the use of natural gas by residents and businesses.
The 2024 NYS Budget approved on May 2, 2023, a ban on fossil fuel equipment and building systems in new construction. The ban creates major concerns about energy affordability and reliability.
It depends on the size of the building.
For smaller buildings (seven stories or less), takes effect January 2026. Does not include commercial or industrial buildings over 100,000 sq. ft.
For larger buildings (over seven stories, or commercial/industrial over 100,000 sq. ft.), takes effect January 2029.
The ban will be enforced through permitting. After the effective date, buildings constructed with fossil fuel-powered appliances or building systems will be in violation of building codes, preventing builders from getting necessary permits.
The ban will not apply to: emergency backup power systems, manufactured homes, manufacturing facilities, commercial food establishments, laboratories, car washes, laundromats, hospitals & medical facilities, critical infrastructure, agricultural buildings, fuel cell systems, or crematoriums.
NYS exempts buildings “that require an application for new or expanded electric service … when electric service cannot be reasonably provided by the grid.”
Exempted buildings are not completely off the hook. The regulations will require that exempt buildings limit use of fossil fuel equipment to the fullest extent possible.
No. At this time, the ban only applies to new construction.
This is a significant victory. Governor Hochul proposed a phase-out of natural gas in existing buildings, which would prevent property owners from buying new gas-powered appliances, furnaces, or other building systems.
Possibly. After resounding public opposition, lawmakers realized the immense costs of retrofitting existing buildings with new, electric equipment.
Without a clear mechanism to help residents bear those costs, lawmakers were uncomfortable imposing the ban on existing buildings though many remain very interested in reducing emissions from existing buildings.
Once it takes effect, this law will increase both construction and operating costs for any employer moving into a new building. Employers should budget and make commercial/industrial space decisions accordingly.
Those in the construction industry should research which non-fossil-fuel-based equipment and building systems are most cost-effective.
Developers and property owners should consider how to adjust financial models for new construction projects after this date, and also assess how the law impacts their valuation of existing buildings.
The WNY Delegation voted along party lines, with all Democrats voting for the gas ban, and all Republicans voting against it.
According to a Siena poll fielded in January 2023:
National Fuel believes the best emissions reduction pathway is one that recognizes regional differences to provide environmental and economic sustainability while achieving the State’s emissions reduction targets and maintaining energy delivery system resiliency, integrity and reliability. Our “All-of-the-Above Pathway” is a more affordable and practical way to meet New York’s Climate Act goals for Western New York homeowners and businesses.
Scale-up investment in energy efficiency measures that emphasize weatherization and building shell retro-fits.
Wide-spread adoption of hybrid/dual-fuel gas furnace and electric air-source heat pump HVAC systems.
Use existing, modernized natural gas infrastructure to incorporate low-carbon fuels like RNG and hydrogen.