Hey New York, We Can Save a Lot of $ and GHG Right Now!

Right now, there is a critical bill awaiting action in the New York State Legislature that will significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for decades to come, and save New Yorkers billions of dollars on their utility bills. The Advanced Building Codes, Appliances and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2021, is foundational to achieve the goals of the state’s groundbreaking climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA); it would enable improved building codes and require more efficient appliances. But, as important as this bill is, it has yet to be introduced in the New York State Legislature, and time is running out—the session ends June 10!

Status Report: Regulations Establishing Energy Efficiency Standards Pursuant to Article 16 of the Energy Law, NYSERDA, March 2021 Fig. 2

The CLCPA includes an energy efficiency goal of saving 185 TBtu of energy by 2025 (equivalent to all the heat and power used by 1.8 million NY homes in a year), as a piece of the law’s overarching goal of net zero carbon by 2050. Stronger state appliance standards and building codes are a key part of achieving that 185 TBtu savings, so it’s critical that we pass a bill this legislative session to get us to that efficiency goal.

Since the CLCPA’s adoption in 2019, and as directed by that law, dozens of people have been working for thousands of collective hours to develop recommendations to assist the Climate Action Council (CAC) as they work toward developing the Scoping Plan to reach our state’s net zero carbon by 2050 goal, and the component climate and clean energy targets. The sector-specific panels of experts that presented their recommendations to the CAC earlier this May highlighted that we need appliance standards and building code improvements “ASAP”.

Slide 15, Energy Efficiency and Housing Advisory Panel, Recommendations to the NYS Climate Action Council for Consideration in the Scoping Plan, May 3, 2021

These changes will not only create huge energy and greenhouse gas savings, they will also save New Yorkers billions of dollars on their energy and water bills: An improved energy code based on these changes is expected to reduce utility bills by an estimated $2.5 billion, and GHG emissions by 21 mmtCO2e, by 2030; and new state appliance standards will provide annual savings to New York households and businesses of $1.3 billion in 2030, with $500 million of those savings going to low- and moderate-income families, about $135 per household per year! All told, households in NY state are expected to save more than $17 billion from these appliance standards and code improvements. In addition to these cost savings, the electricity, oil, gas, and water savings from the appliance standards will result in a total reduction of 17 million metric tons of CO2e emissions through 2035. There are a number of other states, including California, that have already adopted similar state-level appliance standards, so there are plenty of products already out there that will meet the new requirements.

The codes and standards efficiency bill is a crucial and highly cost-effective approach to helping achieve the goals already codified in the CLCPA. It is essential that this bill is introduced and passed this session so that New Yorkers can start to benefit from the real cost and carbon savings from improved energy code and appliance standards, and we lock in a more efficient built environment that will save money and reduce GHG emissions for decades to come.