New York City Takes Significant Step Toward Electrification

New York City is about to be one step closer to total electrification.

The New York City Council has enacted a bill, which current Mayor DeBlasio will sign, that will ban the use of natural gas hookups on a substantial number of new buildings in the coming years. The ban will apply to all new construction seven stories and shorter starting in December 2023 and for buildings taller than seven stories starting in 2027. 

New York City as seen from 425 Grand Concourse, a Phius project in the Bronx, New York

New York City as seen from 425 Grand Concourse — a Phius project in the Bronx

There are exceptions to the new law, including: multifamily buildings in which more than 50 percent of residents are low-income, some manufacturing facilities, laundromats, crematoriums, hospitals, and commercial kitchens. 

Despite the exceptions, this law will apply to a substantial number of new buildings. From a Phius perspective, this new law is in line with the new prescriptive path for the Phius CORE standard and the Phius ZERO standard which prohibits the use of fossil fuels. Even for projects that do not choose the above standards (projects pursuing the performance path under Phius CORE can use fossil fuel combustion appliances), an increasing number are opting to go all-electric. New York City joins other major cities including Seattle, Sacramento and San Jose in enacting policies restricting the use of natural gas in the built environment. 

Finally, the legislation also mandates two studies: one on the use of heat pumps and a second on the legislation’s impact on the electrical grid. The legislation, however, does not apply to existing buildings.

This new law is part of a larger electrification effort within both the City and State. Members of the New York State Assembly have introduced legislation that would prohibit towns and cities across the state from allowing new natural gas hookups. Exceptions to this requirement would require a project to show that an all-electric approach is either physically or technically infeasible (detailed rules determine infeasibility). Moreover, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) are funding a challenge to space heating manufacturers ($263 million) to develop new products designed for existing multifamily buildings with the aim to spur the electrification market in this important sector. This effort moves in parallel with the heat pump study requirement in the New York City law. 

As we all work together to decarbonize the built environment, we look forward to reporting on many more similar policies in the coming months and years.

PhiusCon 2021: Emissions Down, Scale Up — Together!

For four days in October, the center of the passive building world will be Tarrytown, New York.

That is to say that if there’s something important going on in the passive building world, we probably have an expert booked to discuss it at PhiusCon 2021. This year’s conference will be tucked away at the scenic Sleepy Hollow Hotel Convention Center in the beautiful Hudson Valley. It will have a distinct New York accent as we have partnered with New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA) for the event.

The locale for PhiusCon 2021 is no accident. Thanks in large part to years of tireless effort by Phius and NYSERDA, New York has become the country’s unquestioned leader in climate action policy.

425 Grand Concourse 1New York State and NYSERDA have embraced passive building like nowhere else, and we are thrilled they have invited us to New York State where we can properly feature the progress that has been made in New York to our national and international audience at PhiusCon. As New York City’s gateway to the rest of the state, Tarrytown is the perfect location for PhiusCon 2021, allowing us to show off passive projects in the city and throughout the great state of New York.

Pre-Conference workshops will be running Oct. 12-13, during which attendees can immerse themselves in subjects ranging from multifamily for developers to climate and social equity and WUFI Passive.

The core conference is set for Oct. 14-15 and is to feature sessions covering the following topics and much more:

  • States’ and cities’ climate action and zero energy code progress
  • Innovation in finance and technology
  • Optimized methods to bring down cost for design, construction and manufacturing
  • Zero energy building + renewable energy grid solutions such as microgrids, energy storage, virtual power plants
  • Successful passive retrofit solutions including manufactured component approaches such as panel systems
  • International climate-specific passive projects
  • QA/QC professional experiences in multiple building typologies

The list of speakers for PhiusCon 2021 is as distinguished and diverse as we have ever had, as building science professionals from around the globe are slated to give presentations. Keynote speakers are to include: POAH Vice President for Design and Building Performance Julie Klump, Energy Circle Founder and CEO Peter Troast, and Building Science Corporation Founding Principal Dr. Joseph Lstiburek.

This is the first year in the conference’s history that there are two different passive project tours scheduled. There is a New York City tour scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 12, which will showcase some of the largest multifamily passive projects in the country. And the Hudson Valley tour on Saturday, Oct. 16, will include a variety of creatively designed single-family homes in the area.

The winners of our 2021 Passive Projects Design Competition will also be announced as part of the PhiusCon festivities. Winning and honorable mention awards for the competition will be given in five categories:

  • Single-Family
  • Multi-Family
  • Affordable
  • Commercial/Institutional
  • Source Zero

Entries are being accepted until Oct. 1. For more information on the design competition, visit the PhiusCon website.

 

COVID Protocols

The safety of all PhiusCon 2021 attendees is at the top of our minds as the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States continues to evolve.

We hope to alleviate any concerns held by prospective attendees by laying out the COVID-19 protocols that will be in place for PhiusCon

  • CDC recommendations related to masking will be followed and enforced
  • All State and local mandates related to COVID-19 will be adhered to
  • N95 masks and hand sanitizer will be made available to attendees
  • If you feel sick, do not attend the conference
  • Presenters will be distanced from attendees and masked during presentations

As of the time of this newsletter, there are no COVID-19 capacity restrictions in place at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel Convention Center where the conference is being held. For those who choose not to attend in person, there are virtual tickets on sale, which provide access to a live stream of select presentations. There is no plan to convert PhiusCon to a fully virtual event.
If you have any more questions or concerns related to the COVID-19 protocols at PhiusCon 2021, please email conference@phius.org.