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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Governor Hochul Joins U.S. Climate Alliance Governors to Accelerate Building Decarbonization

Governor Kathy Hochul joins U.S. Climate Alliance Governors to accelerate building decarbonization at the AIA New York, Center for Architecture (Susan Watts/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

New York Joins U.S. Climate Alliance Commitment to Quadruple Heat Pump Installations By 2030

Announces $200 Million EmPower+ Program to Reduce Energy Costs for Low-Income New Yorkers

Statewide Program Will Help 20,000 Low Income Families Make Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday, September 21, announced a series of new commitments on behalf of the U.S. Climate Alliance to decarbonize buildings and quadruple heat pump installations by 2030 alongside Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Maine Governor Janet Mills. Building on this commitment, Governor Hochul also announced a $200 million EmPower+ home retrofits program to reduce energy costs for low-income New Yorkers, advancing the Governor’s goal to achieve two million climate-friendly homes by 2030 and supports the State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.

"It's critical that we continue the transition to create an affordable clean energy future that benefits all New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "I am proud to stand side by side with my fellow Governors in the U.S. Climate Alliance to show our commitment to bold action to decarbonize the buildings sector. This coalition continues to prove that when we come together, we can make a greener future more equitable and accessible for all.”

The U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors representing approximately 60 percent of the U.S. economy and 55 percent of the U.S. population, announced a series of new commitments from its members to eliminate emissions from buildings, including collectively quadrupling heat pump installations by the end of the decade. New York is a founding member of the U.S. Climate Alliance and Governor Hochul is a member of the executive committee and co-chair elect.

As part of the Alliance’s new heat pump target, members agreed to collectively reach 20 million heat pump installations across the coalition by 2030, with the aim of ensuring at least 40 percent of benefits flow to disadvantaged communities. These installations will advance progress toward Alliance members’ goal of decarbonizing buildings, including collectively achieving zero-emission new construction as soon as practicable and accelerating efforts to eliminate emissions from existing buildings at a pace consistent with emissions targets under the Paris Agreement. This agreement comes as buildings account for 32 percent of all emissions in New York State.

To further advance and accelerate building decarbonization efforts, New York State made additional commitments with U.S. Climate Alliance members, including:

  • Exploring the adoption of zero-emission standards for space and water heating equipment.
  • Exploring the adoption of Building Performance Standards like those enacted in Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington.
  • Exploring the development of clean heat standards.
  • Working to phase out fossil fuel heating and cooling in new construction by 2027.
  • Supporting the development and adoption of advanced energy-efficient building codes that maximize opportunities for efficient electrification and support solar and electric vehicle readiness.
  • Taking actions to align buildings sector utility resource planning and procurement policies with state climate goals.

These U.S. Climate Alliance commitments build on Governor Hochul’s nation-leading legislation to require zero-emission new construction, which was included in the FY2024 Budget.

Governor Hochul also announced a $200 million EmPower+ home retrofits program to reduce energy costs for low-income New Yorkers. This statewide program, funded in the Enacted FY2024 State Budget, will help approximately 20,000 low-income families improve their home with energy efficiency upgrades that will make their home more comfortable while improving their air quality and overall health.

EmPower+ combines two long-standing residential programs, EmPower NY and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, into one singular offer administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). By streamlining these initiatives, NYSERDA is making home energy efficiency upgrades more affordable and accessible for income-eligible customers, contractors, and program partners. Energy efficiency upgrades include adding insulation, installing energy efficient appliances, and switching to clean energy.

The statewide program is open to owners and renters of one- to four-family households that have a household income below 80 percent of the State/Area Median Income, reside in a single-family home in a geographically eligible territory, or participate in a utility payment assistance program. EmPower+ supports the Climate Act’s goal that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments support disadvantaged communities. For more information on this EmPower+, including the application process and eligibility requirements, please visit NYSERDA’s website.

Today’s announcement builds on the success of NYSERDA’s EmPower NY and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR which launched in the early 2000s. To date, these programs have served more than 250,000 income eligible homes with energy efficiency services.

Funding for Empower+ is through the Enacted FY2024 State Budget, the State’s Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. More information about the program and associated funding can be found on NYSERDA's website.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.


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