By Bradford White Corporation
Since the City of Berkeley, California, enacted the nation’s first electrification reach code in 2019, other jurisdictions have considered adopting this concept. Initially, it was other major cities that followed suit like Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and most recently New York.
However, as momentum for these policies continued to grow locally, interest began building in several state capitals. As a result, there are now several states who are looking at taking a Berkeley-style approach to decarbonization. For much of this year, New York State seemed to be the focal point for this effort.
After the City passed their electrification ordinance late last year, lawmakers in Albany appeared to take this as a cue to begin working on a statewide natural gas ban. These efforts have manifested themselves in standalone legislation (A8431 and S6843) that seeks to make it illegal to connect virtually any newly constructed building in the state to natural gas after Dec. 31, 2023. Additionally, Governor Kathy Hochul made a separate proposal in her initial state budget for next year. Luckily, PHCC was able to engage heavily with other stakeholders in the state to have this provision stripped out of the budget that was ultimately approved.
While New York has been taking center stage in this debate, other states have also been active in introducing legislation. SB 292 in Connecticut would require the state’s residential energy code be updated to prohibit the use of electric resistance or fossil fuel combustion systems in new residential construction.
H 2167 in Massachusetts would allow local governments in the Commonwealth to enact all-electric building ordinances. H 4477 goes further and calls for electrification of all new construction and major renovations in the Commonwealth and, if passed, would take effect at the end of this year.
A3185 in New Jersey, like its Massachusetts counterpart, would allow local governments to enact all-electric reach codes. H 7374 in Rhode Island would require all new buildings in the state, permitted after December 31, 2023, to be all-electric.
Finally, earlier this year, a suite of legislation was working its way through the Washington State Legislature, which sought to end incentives for gas-fired appliances beginning in 2025 and prevent natural gas utilities from expanding their services. Luckily, PHCC was able to work with other stakeholders in the state to eliminate these provisions from those bills. The state is not giving up the fight, however, as the Building Code Council is preparing to consider several aggressive electrification measures to be added to their commercial building code.
While no state has yet to enact a statewide electrification policy, this legislative session is proving that day may soon be coming. For that reason, it is important for those in our industry to continue interacting with their elected officials and advocate for rational and realistic decarbonization policies.
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