Cities and states show the way on net-zero buildings

Vox’s David Roberts pointed out that the work of a key aspect of the Green New Deal – net-zero buildings – is already underway in several states and cities.

Anyone who has studied the problem of reducing US greenhouse gas emissions to net zero — “deep decarbonization,” in the lingo — knows that buildings are a top agenda item. The reason is simple: Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the greenhouse gases in the US. Those emissions come, in part, from the fossil fuels (primarily natural gas these days but also heating oil) burned to heat (and cool) the water and space inside buildings.

Roberts spotlighted legislation and initiatives in California, New York City, Washington DC, Washington state and Massachusetts, and gave honorable mentions to Minneapolis, Boulder, and Boise.

California is, unsurprisingly, leading the pack on building electrification, but word is spreading and more and more jurisdictions are beginning to investigate or implement electrification programs. The range and ambition of these programs puts the lie to conservative fears: It’s difficult, but tackling the building sector is possible. And it’s happening without federal bureaucrats.