On Wednesday, the New York City Council passed a bill that prohibits the combustion of fossil fuels in new buildings, thus becoming the largest US city to ban new gas connections.
Effectively phasing out the use of gas for cooking and heating, NYC has now urged citizens to turn to electricity for power, in an aim to meet climate goals. As it stands, building emissions are responsible for 70 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the new ban will drastically cut down on pollution that fuels climate change.
The ban will apply to structures under seven stories tall starting in 2024 and to larger buildings in 2027. According to a recent study by clean energy think tank RMI, the measure will slash 2.1 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2040, which has about the same impact as taking 450,000 cars off the road for a year.
Post the ban, buildings won’t be able to use any fossil-fuel-powered appliances, like gas boilers and stoves. Instead, they’ll incorporate electric or induction stoves and incorporate heat pumps that move cold or warm air into a home.
As far as costs are concerned, studies have shown it’s less expensive for developers to build efficient, all-electric homes than it is to build using fossil fuels, and that electric space and water heating and air conditioning results in lower costs to owners over the lifetime of the appliances.
Going ahead, Mayor Bill Blasio is expected to sign the bill or let it lapse into law.