Over the next several years, the construction industry in New York will undergo some profound changes as the state in general (and NYC in particular) begins the transition toward all-electric buildings. The state’s All-Electric Buildings Law, which becomes enforceable starting in 2026, will undoubtedly have far-reaching impacts on the city’s electrical infrastructure, not to mention the enhanced capacity demands for new construction as these projects seek compliance with the new law.

What the Law Says

The All-Electric Buildings Law requires that beginning in 2026, many new constructions in New York must be built to utilize electric heat and appliances, thus reducing fossil fuel utilization for heating, cooling, and water heating systems. This robust step aligns with the city’s broader objective to curtail greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Some specifics about the law include the following:

  • The new requirements apply to all residential buildings seven stories and shorter, as well as commercial buildings with 100,000 square feet or more of air-conditioned space.
  • By 2029, these requirements will expand to include taller residential buildings and smaller commercial buildings.
  • Existing buildings will be exempt from the new requirements, even if they choose to renovate.
  • Exemptions will also be granted to certain types of facilities like restaurants, hospitals, and factories.

Advantages of All-Electric Buildings

Transitioning to all-electric buildings offers several advantages. Primarily, electric systems are inherently more energy-efficient than their fossil fuel counterparts, which not only reduces the environmental impact but also translates into potential cost savings for businesses via decreased utility expenditures. Moreover, electric systems promote safety by negating the risks associated with gas leaks. Recent technological advancements, such as efficient heat pumps and induction cooking appliances, render the implementation of energy-efficient electric systems increasingly feasible. These technologies offer high performance and significantly contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Effects on Electrical Infrastructure

The shift towards all-electric buildings will inevitably exert pressure on NYC’s existing electrical infrastructure. The heightened demand for electricity may mandate upgrades to the city’s power grid, including enhancements to substations, transmission lines, and distribution networks. For building projects that are impacted by the law, there may be additional costs for initial installation and the requirement for skilled labor to install and maintain these systems. However, these obstacles can be effectively mitigated through proactive planning and collaboration with seasoned electrical contractors, proficient in the latest technologies and regulations.

Implications for Building Developers, Companies, and Existing Owners

If you’re a decision maker in an upcoming construction project in NYC, it’s crucial to take steps now in your planning to ensure compliance with these all-electric requirements. Even if you’re an existing building owner or qualify for some other exemption to the All-Electric Buildings Law, realize that this law is just a first step in what is likely to be a slew of new requirements as the state begins aggressively pursuing its net-zero emissions goals. The time to be proactive is now, and that means engaging an electrical contractor with a demonstrable track record in the installation and maintenance of high-demand electric systems. 

At Tri-Power Electrical, we have been working within NYC’s electrical infrastructure for decades, and we understand what is required to create the groundwork for all-electric buildings across the city. Contact us to discuss your electrical needs.