Building/Energy Code to reflect NY’s electrification laws

Hi this is Sara Bayer and I’m a board member of New York Passive House.

We are a nonprofit organization with a vision to help create a carbon-neutral, healthy, resilient, and durable built environment for New York, centered around the adoption of all electric Passive House construction.  Our members consist of built environment experts across the entire industry.

We strongly encourage the Building Code Council to incorporate the emissions limits on site for buildings and electrify new construction. And we encourage NYSERDA to adopt a logical view of the cost/benefit analysis of electrification of our built environment, and include all of the externalities that have been ignored in previous calculations, to the detriment of our health and viability of our economy into the future.  No longer can we design our society in silos without considering the other effects on related systems.

Our large membership has already designed and built all electric passive house buildings for many years.  For a tiny fraction of increased construction cost (which in fact is not always the case), the health and financial benefits of this construction will pay for itself in a swift timeframe well within the parameters of the law. In fact, even attempting to quantify the health benefits will surely leave something out. These buildings will provide healthy, resilient, and cost-effective projects, which New York state, and frankly all jurisdictions, deserve.  We cannot sacrifice this, in order to preserve “the choice” to use a toxifying gas stove, for example.

All-electric buildings without onsite combustion have been cost effective for years and provide affordable and reliable heating, cooling and hot water.  Current electric heat pump technology is at minimum three times more efficient than fossil fuel burning equipment will ever be.

In terms of grid capacity, in NYC for example, studies show it has capacity for expansion of wintertime load for at least a decade without significant investment – which is when use goes up for electric heating (since the grid is sized for the summertime peak as most cooling is already electric).

As others have commented or will comment, enforcing our all-electric buildings law will provide benefits to our society in the billions of dollars, and the cost pales in comparison.  We encourage efforts to support the transition of those parts of the economy that are not prepared for this change so we can move forward together.