By Bradford White Corporation
In the waning days of 2021, the New York City government enacted building electrification legislation that will eventually prohibit the use of natural gas in all newly constructed buildings in the city. In this article, I want to take readers through this policy so that they have a clear understanding of what the city government has done, what it has not done, and when the new requirements will take effect.
Specifically, the bill will prohibit the “combustion of any substance that emits 25 kilograms or more of carbon dioxide per million British thermal unit.” This means that the city has banned, not only the use of natural gas with this action but has also prohibited the use of renewable natural gas that utility companies may want to use in the future to supply newly constructed buildings. The law will be enforced by the city’s Department of Buildings and any violation will carry a civil penalty between $400 – $4,000.
While this may be alarming, the measure does not have immediate effect and does not impact any existing buildings in the city that are currently using natural gas. The law, does however, split enforcement timelines into two separate buckets based on building size as follows:
- For new buildings less than seven stories, the provision applies to any construction project permitted after January 1, 2023.
- For new buildings that are seven stories, or large, the provision applies to any construction project permitted after July 1, 2027.
Apart from the compliance dates, the city government also allows for several exemptions in this measure. These include the following:
- A perspective building owner, of a new building less than seven stories, where the building’s owner demonstrates that 50-percent or more of the dwelling units will be affordable housing units. Though perspective building owners must submit their exemptions by December 31, 2025, to qualify. The same exemption exists for new buildings at or above seven stories, but the submission deadline is pushed back to December 31, 2027.
- Buildings that will primarily be used by a utility to generate electric power, or steam.
- Buildings within facilities operated by the Department of Environmental Protection that treat sewage or food waste.
- Buildings with applications filed by, or on behalf of, the school construction authority, provided such application is submitted before December 31, 2024.
- Any building where there is a technological infeasibility for a manufacturing use or purpose. This specifically includes
- Commercial kitchens with a commercial cook appliance
Even though this law was recently passed by the city government, there are chances that it could still be modified. The city’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability has been instructed to lead a study regarding the use of heat pump technology in connection with the implementation of this law. This includes technological feasibility based on building sizes, installation costs, and environmental impacts. From a product standpoint, the study will focus on centralized air source heat pumps with storage tanks; air, ground, and multi-source heat pumps; solar thermal with storage tanks; and on-demand electric water heaters, both storage and instantaneous.
The office must submit the results of their study to city policymakers before June 1, 2023, several months before the law takes effect for smaller buildings. Depending on its findings, the city government may choose to amend some of the proposals that they have enacted. Industry partners like BWC, and PHCC, will continue to monitor this policy should additional changes be made prior to its effective date
About Bradford White Corporation
Bradford White Corp. is an industry-leading manufacturer of water heaters, boilers and storage tanks. The company maintains headquarters in Ambler, Pennsylvania, and has manufacturing facilities in Middleville, Michigan; Niles, Michigan; and Rochester, New Hampshire; and distribution and training centers in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. For more information, visit www.bradfordwhitecorporation.com.
SOURCE Bradford White Corporation