NYS Climate Action Council: New Guidelines for Constructing Modern Zero-Emissions Homes and Buildings

June 26, 2023

Originally emailed by NYSERDA on June 26, 2023.

New York took the extraordinary step in May to become the first state in the nation to enact legislation to ensure newly constructed buildings are designed to address climate change.

With buildings being the largest source of greenhouse gas output in the State, accounting for 32% of total emissions—more than car and truck traffic – the new requirements are a giant step forward toward a cleaner, healthier future.

The Clean, Resilient Building legislation included in the 2023-2024 state budget signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul sets new guidelines for constructing modern zero-emissions homes and buildings that will protect our families and residents.

Under the new codes:

  • Beginning on December 31, 2025, new buildings that are seven stories or fewer will be built to achieve zero-onsite emissions. There is an exception for new commercial or industrial buildings that are greater than 100,000 square feet. The exception will give more time for compliance to larger buildings outside of New York City.
  • Starting December 31, 2028, newly constructed buildings, regardless of size, will have to be built onsite emissions free, with exemptions for things such as emergency backup and standby power, manufacturing facilities, commercial food establishments, laboratories, car washes, laundromats, hospitals, crematoriums, agriculture buildings, fuel cell systems, and critical infrastructure.

The new standards will prohibit fossil fuel use for water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, cooking stoves, and dryers. While the new law will not impact gas stoves or appliances in existing buildings, New York residents are encouraged to weatherize and consider electrifying their homes and businesses so that they can enjoy safer, healthier, and more comfortable indoor environments now, and well into the future.

High-performing zero-emissions homes have walls, windows, roofs, and even basements that are built or renovated to have tight air sealing and increased insulation, allowing them to maintain indoor temperatures for much longer than conventionally built homes. This allows residents during power outages to safely shelter in place for longer. Additionally, modern electric heat pumps are far more efficient and work better in cold weather climates than previous generations of electric heat. Even so, like with so many existing buildings, occupants should prepare for potential power outages just like they do today in existing buildings.

We encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of state and federal incentive programs designed to help make electrification more affordable for all. Homeowners and businesses can find state programs available to them at Find a Program-NYSERDA.

The zero-emissions new buildings guidelines represent tremendous progress in New York’s nation-leading efforts to address climate change and can serve as a model for other states. These buildings will pave the way for increased adoption of clean heating technologies in all buildings, reducing the State’s overall over time and, advancing a cleaner and better New York that ensures the well-being of all residents.