Dear Governor Hochul:
In New York State, we take pride in having passed the most aggressive and equitable climate legislation in the country but we need bold leadership to implement solutions that enable all New Yorkers, including Black, Brown and low-income communities to participate in the clean energy transition. We urge you to scale up current programs and make a massive investment in healthy, energy efficient and electrified buildings, prioritizing disadvantaged rural and urban communities.
Because buildings are the leading cause of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions we must equitably phase out fossil fuels and ensure that people can afford to switch to modern geothermal and air source heat pumps and induction stoves. You have an opportunity to transform New York’s buildings with funding and policies that will improve our health and quality of life, increase housing affordability in underserved, under-represented, and historically excluded communities, and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs — all while attacking the climate crisis head on.
Please take action in your upcoming State of the State and 2022 legislative agenda to:
- Set a state target of at least 2 million new and existing energy-efficient all-electric homes by 2030, at least half of which will be new and existing affordable housing in and for Disadvantaged Communities.
- Create a Green Affordable Housing Fund for Disadvantaged Communities. This Fund will pay for tightening the building envelope, improving heat pump and induction stove incentives, upgrading electrical panels, and developing new high performance affordable multifamily buildings. It should also provide weatherization and pre-electrification funding and financing to address the health hazards, structural issues, and electrical requirements needed for efficiency and electrification.
- End fossil fuel expansion with building standards and utility regulation. Modernize building codes to require new buildings to be all-electric and highly efficient, starting in 2024 with accommodations for technical feasibility. Phase out fossil fuels from existing buildings, and launch programs today that pave the way for a 2028 all-electric standard for new heating equipment and appliances. Change utility regulations to eliminate free utility gas line extensions to new customers, impose emissions limits on gas utilities, address operating costs by ensuring affordable electricity, and finalize a pathway in 2022 for fully phasing out fossil fuels in buildings.
- Create thousands of high quality, high-paying career jobs, with priority for disadvantaged communities and priority populations. Adopting policies to drive electrification and dramatically increase affordable housing can help us rebuild our economy, and make New York a jobs and economic powerhouse in decarbonization. The state should ensure that at least half of these jobs go to Disadvantaged Communities and should create on-the-job training and certification/degree programs, union apprenticeship programs, and regional hiring halls.
We thank you for your service to our state and look forward to working with you to make a historic investment for better buildings in New York that will improve our living conditions, our health, our economy, and our climate.