The Local Green Building Policies Showing the Way for the Green New Deal

The Green New Deal (GND) had a lot to say about making American buildings more efficient. Proposals for creating better building efficiency were among the most criticized before the first bill on the issue was voted down. But there’s no getting around the role heating and cooling buildings plays in climate change. “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,” David Roberts writes for Vox.

While some have characterized policies to limit building emissions as unworkably bureaucratic, there are many cities and states already addressing the issue. Policies in California, like rebates offered by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, push for electrification in new buildings. In New York City, legislation is trying to take on existing buildings. “The city council is now considering a remarkable bill, championed by Councilmember Costa Constantinides, that would mandate a 40 percent reduction in emissions from large buildings by 2030, rising to 80 percent by 2050,” Roberts reports.

Cities like Minneapolis, Boise, Boulder, and Washington D.C. also have policies in the works to address these issues. Supporters of the GND hope federal legislation can learn from the successes of local level policies.


By Casey Brazeal