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Ithaca, N.Y., votes to electrify, decarbonize all its buildings

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Codes and Standards

Ithaca, N.Y., votes to electrify, decarbonize all its buildings

First initiative of its kind in U.S.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | November 29, 2021
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Courtesy Pixabay

In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the U.S., the city of Ithaca, N.Y., voted to electrify and decarbonize all buildings within the community—not just municipal buildings.

Ithaca, a community of about 30,000 people, contains about 6,000 homes and buildings. The decarbonization plan would involve regulations on things like how a building is heated and the types of appliances it uses to eliminate consumption of fossil fuels.

This legislation is part of the broader “Green New Deal” that the city approved in 2019. That measure calls for city government to meet all its electricity needs with renewable energy by 2025 and reduce its vehicle emissions by half. It also set an ambitious goal of being a carbon-neutral city by the end of the decade.

Building improvements could include swapping natural gas and propane cooking stoves with electric induction cooktops and installing solar panels. Cornell University is working on modeling to help inform what buildings to address first. The program is likely to unfold in two phases—the first covering 1,600 buildings, and then another 4,400 in a second wave.

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