NEW YORK -- In a landmark decision, the New York City Council voted with an overwhelming majority Wednesday to pass legislation banning gas-powered heaters, stoves, and water boilers in new buildings, effectively requiring any new appliances to be electric. The ban will go into effect for buildings under seven stories in 2023, and for taller buildings, in 2027.
The move should have a positive impact on public health. Gas-powered stoves are a known source of indoor air pollution, and have been tied to an elevated risk of pediatric asthma and worsening symptoms of pre-existing respiratory illnesses. The new legislation also will help New York City reduce emissions and meet climate change mitigation targets. An RMI report found that the bill would save the same amount of pollution as taking 450,000 cars off the road every year.
In response, experts from PIRG and Environment America released the following statements:
“This vote sends a strong message that we are on our way to all-electric buildings, and we are one step closer to powering our society with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Brynn Furey, Environment America clean energy associate. “Transitioning to clean, efficient electricity is necessary to combat the climate crisis. Electrification will reduce planet-warming carbon and methane emissions, and allow us to quickly adapt to renewable energy sources. It is beyond encouraging to see so many cities across the U.S. taking action to protect public health and the planet.”
“People in the city that never sleeps can sleep better knowing that they’ll soon have cleaner, healthier air thanks to New York City joining the growing movement for building electrification,” said Erin Skibbens, PIRG environment campaign associate. “Electric appliances in our homes will help protect us from the negative health impacts that come with combusting gas, such as increased asthma, especially in children.”