Buildings

Policy Brief – Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing …

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Beyond Gas Bans: Alternative Pathways to Reduce Building Emissions in Light of State Preemption Laws

At the federal level, opportunities to advance emissions reductions from buildings have expanded due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to speed the nation’s transition to carbon-free energy sources. However, many municipalities have seen their powers to steer building decarbonization curtailed in recent years. Notably, between 2020 and 2021, 20 states …

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Urban Biodiversity: A Transatlantic Dialogue on the Role of Cities in Promoting Global Biodiversity Goals

Though seemingly at odds with one another, a wide variety of living organisms and habitats exist in and around dense urban areas. With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, and the urban footprint steadily growing, policymakers must think about how to protect the biodiversity that remains within urban areas and …

Urban Biodiversity: A Transatlantic Dialogue on the Role of Cities in Promoting Global Biodiversity Goals Read More »

Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing …

Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity? Read More »

Beyond Gas Bans: Expanding Local Strategies for Building Decarbonization and Energy Efficiency

At the federal level, opportunities and incentives to decarbonize buildings expanded in 2022 due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.  However, many municipalities have seen their powers to steer building decarbonization curtailed in recent years. Notably, between 2020 and 2021, 20 states passed laws that limited local governments’ authority to regulate the installation …

Beyond Gas Bans: Expanding Local Strategies for Building Decarbonization and Energy Efficiency Read More »

Following the Money: The Role of Penalties in Encouraging Compliance with Building Performance Standards

In response to growing public concerns about climate change, many American cities have begun to set goals for reducing energy usage, decreasing reliance on non-renewable energy sources, and helping building owners upgrade inefficient properties. To aid in this transition, several jurisdictions have created Building Performance Standards (BPSs). BPSs regulate either greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or …

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Impact Fees: A New Direction for NYC?

Impact fees are one-time charges imposed on new development as a condition of approval to offset the development’s impact on local infrastructure, services, and the environment. A revenue-raising tool, they are broadly based on the idea that new development should be responsible for paying for a share of the new or additional public infrastructure and …

Impact Fees: A New Direction for NYC? Read More »

Building Better Building Performance Standards

As the climate crisis accelerates, policymakers are increasingly turning to novel forms of regulation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These include regulating the emissions of buildings, which account for over 30 percent of GHG emissions nationwide. A key issue in regulating buildings is whether to regulate building GHG emissions, or whether to regulate the …

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