RELEASE: Health, environmental, and business leaders applaud LA plan on zero-emission buildings, call for leadership from other cities
For Immediate Release
April 29, 2019
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Health, environmental, and business leaders applaud LA plan on zero-emission buildings, call for leadership from other cities
More than twenty organizations join sign-on letter highlighting urgent need to cut pollution from homes and buildings
SAN FRANCISCO—Los Angeles’ landmark announcement to dramatically cut fossil fuel pollution from homes and buildings as part of the LA Sustainability pLAn drew support from a broad coalition of health, labor, business, and environmental organizations, who are calling on local governments across California to follow suit.
The Building Decarbonization Coalition released the letter, which features more than twenty organizations, including IBEW 11, Ceres, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the California Environmental Justice Network, calling for local governments to help their residents and businesses move beyond burning gas in homes and commercial buildings for heating and hot water by developing policies that accelerate the transition to all-electric buildings powered by clean energy.
“Los Angeles’ proposal to become the largest city in the nation to adopt a building code purposefully designed to reduce climate pollution is an important step forward - and they are far from alone in this approach,” said Panama Bartholomy, director of the Building Decarbonization Coalition. “In fact, dozens of California communities, big and small, are considering municipal codes and other measures that will help the state move to healthier, zero-emission new construction.”
Homes and buildings account for more than one-quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. By capitalizing on California’s commitment to 100% clean electricity, the letter urges city councils to take robust action to transition to non-polluting, high-efficiency electric equipment in an effort to protect public health, reduce air pollution, increase housing supply and affordability, and enable California to achieve its zero-carbon commitments.
“Gas appliances are one of the primary contributors to indoor air pollution that exacerbates asthma and other respiratory conditions,” said Kevin Hamilton, executive director of the Central California Asthma Collaborative. “The transition from combustion to clean and efficient electric appliances will improve the health of millions of Californians, and that’s why we’re calling on local governments to take action.”
The signers also called on local governments to ensure that the health and economic benefits of building decarbonization reaches all Californians, especially low-income renters and workers, through policy actions that prioritize reducing utility bills for renters and creating clear pathways to family-supporting jobs for workers from fossil-fuel industries.
“Energy bills can take a major cut of low-income families’ pay checks every month,” said Nick Dirr, program director for the Association for Energy Affordability. “We see a tremendous opportunity for efficient, electric appliances to deliver savings and benefits to the families that need them most, but to make this happen, local and state decision-makers should prioritize access to these appliances for lower-income communities.”
Zero-Emission Buildings will save homeowners, builders money
The letter follows a study released earlier this month, which found that building electrification will slash emissions and result in cost savings for developers and the majority of renters and homeowners in California - thanks in part to lower utility bills. The study, “Residential Building Electrification in California,” from Energy + Environmental Economics (E3), found that all-electric new construction will deliver net savings of $130 to $540 per year to homeowners and builders.
“The actual savings will be even greater when factoring in equipment cost reductions through market transformation, and that’s important for local governments considering action,” said Pierre Delforge, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “As the market for electric equipment transforms and costs come down, electrification will become cost-effective for even more Californians - but we need policy action and local government leadership to harness these savings and emissions reductions.”
About half the pollution from California's buildings comes from burning gas, primarily for heating and hot water. The state's ability to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 will require the majority of buildings to shift that energy usage toward the electric grid powered by renewable electricity.
“The classic environmental motto ‘think global, act local’ has never been more appropriate or urgent,” said Rachel Golden, a senior campaign representative with the Sierra Club. “Local government leaders are uniquely positioned to help reduce pollution from homes and workplaces in their communities - and we want to encourage them to take an active role in ensuring the benefits of electrification reach those who need it most.”
You can read the full letter here.
About the Building Decarbonization Coalition
The Building Decarbonization Coalition unites building industry stakeholders with energy providers, environmental organizations and local governments to pursue fast, fair action that accelerates the development of zero-emission homes and buildings in California. Through research, policy development, and consumer inspiration, the BDC activates strong leadership to help California cut one of its largest sources of climate pollution, while creating safe, healthy and affordable communities. To learn more, visit www.buildingdecarb.org.
April 29, 2019
Subject: Californians Support Local Action to Create Zero-Emission Homes and Buildings
California is ground zero for climate change. Our residents are experiencing unprecedented health and economic damages from wildfires, heat waves, and droughts. The same fossil fuels causing climate change are also disproportionately burdening low-income communities and communities of color with some of the most polluted air in the nation.
As leaders representing millions of Californians who are ready for healthy, clean air solutions, we are voicing our support for local governments to curb pollution by reducing and eliminating gas combustion in our homes and commercial buildings.
Capitalizing on California’s commitment to 100% clean electricity by transitioning to non-polluting, efficient electric appliances will protect public health, reduce air pollution, increase housing supply and affordability, and enable California to achieve its zero-carbon commitments by 2045 while continuing its national climate leadership.
To enable faster and broader action at the state level, we call for city and counties to take robust action to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions homes and buildings.
Local governments should consider action that:
Addressing the challenges of climate change and air pollution effectively and equitably depends on local action. By voicing our support, we hope to embolden local regulators, city councils and other decision-makers to demonstrate leadership that creates healthy, safe and thriving communities.
Panama Bartholomy, Director, Building Decarbonization Coalition
Kevin Hamilton, CEO, Central California Asthma Collaborative
Jose G. Torres, Energy Equity Program Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance
Robert M. Gould, MD, President, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility
Jen Kropke, Director of Environmental and Workforce Engagement for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union Eleven
Nick Dirr, Director of Programs, Association for Energy Affordability
Rachel Golden, Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club, My Generation campaign
Pierre Delforge, Senior Scientist, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Michael Colvin, Senior Manager, California Energy Market Policy & Regulation, Environmental Defense Fund
Matt Vespa, Staff Attorney, Clean Energy, Earthjustice
Kirsten Heaton, South Bay (San Jose) Team Coordinator, Mother’s Out Front
Alexandra Nagy, Southern California Organizer, Food & Water Watch
Laura Neish, Executive Director, 350 Bay Area
Mary Kay Benson, Manager Steering Committee, 350 Chico
Ken Jones, Steering Committee, 350 Marin
Sigrid Wright, CEO/Executive Director, Community Environmental Council
Sophie Wolfram, Director of Programs, Climate Action Campaign
Kirsten James, Director, California Policy and Partnerships, Ceres
Andy Wunder, Western States Advocate, E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs
D’Lynda Fischer, Petaluma City Council Member
Sven Thesen, Founder, ProjectGreenHome.org