Senator Foley Passes Groundbreaking Energy Conservation Legislation

Brian X. Foley

June 25, 2010

State Senator Brian X. Foley (D-Blue Point) was joined today by environmental advocates to hail Senate Bill 6912-A being passed by the senate, and to urge its swift passage by the assembly.

This legislation, sponsored by Senator Foley, would make New York State a leader in requiring new residential construction state-wide to meet strict energy efficiency standards. The implementation of the standards would result in the creation of hundreds of new green collar jobs and increase work opportunities in implementing efficiency improvements for thousands of laborers in the building trades across the state.

“I am proud to be the lead sponsor of the New York State Energy Star legislation,” said Senator Foley. “This legislation will make New York a nationwide leader among states in residential energy conservation standards. More than that, it will help to put New Yorkers back to work at a time when job creation is critically needed.”

The legislation amends the State Energy Conservation Construction Code to create a higher standard for the energy efficiency of new homes. It has taken six years since the last updated standards were released by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for the New York State Code to be updated. In that time period, new standards have already been released and reviewed extensively by ASHRAE. In the future, new codes would be required to be adopted within eighteen months.

Energy Star building standards for new residential construction have already been adopted in some areas of New York State; most notably, ten of Long Island’s thirteen towns have adopted some level of energy conservation standards. While Supervisor of Brookhaven Town, Senator Foley was the first town supervisor on Long Island, and perhaps in the state, to introduce Energy Star legislation.

“It is extremely gratifying to be able to continue state-wide a mission I began while at Brookhaven Town,” said Senator Foley. “The adoption of these standards by Brookhaven and the other nine towns was a major step in reducing Long Island’s emissions and environmental impact, but adopting it on a state-wide level is an even larger step towards reducing our energy consumption and beginning to incorporate energy efficiency and alternate energy sources into our everyday lives.”

"With this law New York State will lead the nation by requiring energy performance testing for all new homes,” said Andrew Manitt, Research Director of the Neighborhood Network. “Buyers of new homes throughout the State will benefit through saving money on utility bills, having more comfortable homes and reducing their carbon footprint.”

"The Green Paper prepared by the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College found that stricter residential energy codes that require a performance test before new homes can be sold on the market, as adopted by 10 Long Island towns, are saving each new homeowner almost $1,000 per year in avoided fuel costs,” said Neal Lewis, executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College. “Those savings will keep hundreds of millions of dollars in the local Long Island economy over the next 30 years. The legislation sponsored by Senator Foley will take this success from Long Island and implement it across New York State."

"CCE strongly supports the efforts of Senator Foley and Assemblyman Englebright to make New York's buildings more energy efficient," said William Cooke, Director of Government Relations for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "Energy efficiency and conservation are the cornerstone of a sustainable energy future and are a critical component to meeting New York's energy efficiency goals."

“The Energy Star Homes legislation will provide stringent energy efficiency standards which saves homeowners money and reduces the carbon footprint,” said Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island. “As we plan growth in Long Island's downtowns and hamlet centers this bill will allow signifigant savings for the next generation of residents and for aging baby boomers alike. This bill is a recent addition to the agenda of the LI Lobby Day Coalition, comprised of 30 local and regional organizations outlining a common agenda for Long Island. Kudos to Senator Foley and supporters for moving this important piece of legislation forward.”

“Updating the New York State Energy Conservation Code is long overdue and will provide an undeniable win-win scenario for the environment, for the consumer and for our energy infrastructure,” said Bob DeLuca, President of Group for the East End. “By increasing the required efficiency of every new home, New Yorkers will save millions in heating and cooling costs while taking tons of toxic and greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and reducing the rising pressure on our aging electrical grid. Few legislative actions could have a more widespread and positive impact on residential conservation and related economic saving for homeowners.”

"We commend Senator Foley and his colleagues for updating the New York Energy Conservation Codes," said Ross Gould, air & energy program director for Environmental Advocates of New York. "Almost 25 percent of New York's greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to residential housing and updating these codes will not only reduce emissions and lower energy use, but it will also save New Yorkers money."

Senate Bill 6912-A was reported out of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee on April 27, 2010. Its companion bill in the Assembly, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, has not yet been reported out of committee,

“I urge the assembly to take action on its legislation so that we may more quickly realize the positive effects this legislation will provide,” said Senator Foley.