- Legislative Priority: Encourage companies to adopt practices and technologies that lower greenhouse gas emissions from building materials.
- Budget Priority: Create a $15 million pilot program within the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) solely focused on electrifying antiquated and inefficient housing, and seek to end new residential natural gas interconnections by 2030.
Why is this on New Jersey LCV’s Common Agenda?
New Jersey is at the center of bold climate and justice action. Nation-leading progress has been made to decarbonize the power generating and transportation sectors, which represent a large swath of emissions in the state. A remaining sector in need of action is the building sector. One way to begin decarbonizing the building sector is to look at how we build and what products are used. Concrete is the most common building material on the planet, and we produce 30 billion tons of it globally every year. The main binding ingredient in concrete is Portland cement, which is produced through an extremely carbon intensive process that accounts for 7-8% of global emissions. Providing an incentive for concrete companies to use innovative technologies and materials to mitigate carbon emissions is effective climate policy, especially as states buy an enormous share of concrete.
Moreover, on top of how we build, how buildings and water are heated and cooled, in new and existing buildings needs to be reconsidered. As an old state with old building stock, fossil fuels are the primary method for heating space and water. As a result, diminished indoor air quality has emerged as a major public health issue due to biproducts of fossil fuel burning, making buildings a leading cause of premature death in the State. Therefore, to the address health hazards that emerge from conventional methods of heating and cooling, to mitigate the climate crisis, and protect residents from rising utility bills, home heating needs to be re-evaluated. For existing housing stock, the Board of Public Utilities should create a pilot program that seeks to electrify old housing heated by home heating fuels, propane, and antiquated electric systems and transition these households to modern and cost-effective electric systems through a $15 million pilot program. For new homes, the smartest way to build is with the understanding that fossil fuel prices are rising and the need to reduce their use has never been more important, so the State should explore options to end new residential natural gas interconnections by 2030.