New York Imposes Ban on Natural Gas in New Buildings: What It Means For the State & Residents

* Consequently, New York will no more welcome gas stoves, furnaces, and propane heating in new buildings. The initative hopes that the State will encourage the use of applicances that are climate-friendly instead, such as electric stoves.  * The Inflation Reduction Act has made provisions, whereby the swapping of gas stoves for electric ones and even the new set-ups can be incentivised with rebates. Hence, the residents can capitalise on the initiative.

The USA has been actively encouraging decarbonisation and giving an impetus to climate friendly measures in the wake of the Inflation Reducation Act. In a series of measures taken across the country, New York has become the most recent to jump onto the bandwagon in the USA to ban natural gas and fossil fuels in new residential buildings. The announcement comes in the form of a legislation passed recently. Consequently, New York will no more welcome gas stoves, furnaces, and propane heating in new buildings. The initative hopes that the State will encourage the use of applicances that are climate-friendly instead, such as electric stoves.

The legislation will be effective 2026 for new buildings under seven stories. For buildings that are taller, the law will be implemented starting 2029.  and 2029 for taller buildings. In 2021, New York had announced the ban on natural gas hook-ups in new buildings from late 2023.

New York Ambitions

As of 2020, New York became the sixth-largest state to be consuming gas, which made up 46% of the electricity in the State. What’s more, by 2021, three out of five households employed natural gas for heating purposes.

Taking note of this, New York has set sights on having net-zero carbon emissions in their buildings. With the new legislation in place, the city and state hopes to steer clear of 6.1 million metric tons of carbon emissions by year 2040. In addition, New York will be looking at meeting its electricity demands from renewable sources. The target has been set at 70% by 2030.

Governor Kathy Hochul said of the ban announced in the Budget, “Our Budget prioritizes nation-leading climate action that meets this moment with ambition and the commitment it demands.”

Similar Initiatives in US

Four years ago, Berkeley, California, had introduced a ban on gas hook-ups in new buildings. This was implemented under climate emergency circumstances as natural gas contributes to one third of the emissions in Berkeley.

Berkeley served as a source of inspiration for other cities too, which also imposed bans to keep a check on the use of gas.

At the outset of 2023, as many as 99 cities and counties in the US were accelerating decarbonisation measures. There was a push given to electrical appliances in new buildings in place of gas appliances. Some of the cities to have imposed the ban on gas appliances entail California, Washington D.C., Cambridge, Seattle.

Reasons For Resistance To The Ban

The ban on new gas hook-ups has not been met with enthusiasm with many politicians and residents opposing the move vehemently. Similarly, residents in New York have not warmed up to the idea of the ban yet. Several reasons could explain the resistance.

To begin with, the move, it is held will cause inconvenience especially to residents and owners of small businesses, who will have to loosen their purse strings on a new appliance and it doesn’t help that electric stoves are more expensive to buy and run when compared to gas stoves, which cost three times less.

There is another view which says that gas stoves are more efficient than their electric counterpart when it comes to heating. Besides, the electric counterpart will not operate during the times that the light goes out, an area where gas stoves score over the electric stove.

The Way Forward

The piece of news isn’t as bad as it sounds. The Inflation Reduction Act has made provisions, whereby the swapping of gas stoves for electric ones and even the new set-ups can be incentivised with rebates. Hence, the residents can capitalise on the initiative.

Going forward, the naysers should consider welcoming the move, which will not only prove beneficial for the environment and help US achieve decarbonization goals more swiftly, but also have a positive impact on their health once they make the switch to electric. Besides, electric stoves are safer vis-a-vis gas stoves.

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