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Report: U.S. Should Cut Fossil Fuel Emissions From Buildings

States across the United States, including those that have pledged huge reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions, should not overlook the goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels in buildings, as this is a major part of emissions, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, cited by Reuters, showed on Monday.

According to the report from the non-profit organization promoting clean energy, states in the northeast with ambitious climate goals—including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts—are unlikely to achieve their emission reduction targets unless they reduce fossil fuel consumption in buildings.

Those cleaner-energy targets “cannot be achieved without removing fossil fuels from buildings,” Reuters quoted the RMI report as saying.

Cities in some states, notably California and Massachusetts, have started to enact plans and laws to require that all new buildings be fully electrified with no natural gas use.

In July, the city council in Berkeley, California, passed an ordinance requiring all new homes to be all-electric with no gas hook-ups beginning in January 2020. Berkeley’s primary motivation for the gas hook-up ban was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of clean energy.  

Boston, Massachusetts, is “transitioning to zero-net carbon new construction,” according to its most recent climate action plan.

The Rocky Mountain Institute said last year that clean, electric buildings could not only cut greenhouse gas emissions, but also save money in new construction.

The American Gas Association (AGA) disagrees, and it has published an analysis prepared for AGA by ICF, which found that “policy-driven electrification would increase the average residential household energy-related costs (amortized appliance and electric system upgrade costs and utility bill payments) of affected households by between $750 and $910 per year, or about 38 percent to 46 percent.”

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Most recently, AGA said last month that the industry could be part of the solution, and help emissions reduction through the use of emerging natural gas direct use technologies and the development of renewable natural gas.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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