June 1, 2023
Contact: Robin Tung, Building Decarbonization Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sacramento, CA – A bill directing the California Energy Commission to develop and implement an overarching emissions reduction strategy for the building sector, complete with milestones, to benefit workers, communities, and industries passed with a 60-15 vote out of the California Assembly yesterday. AB 593 (Haney) was passed with support from labor, utility, and climate advocates.
“With AB 593, California can seize the opportunity to be the first state to adopt and implement a zero-carbon target for buildings. Without a comprehensive roadmap, the state could fall behind in cutting pollution from homes and buildings. New York and other states are making great strides now in the transition to clean energy. AB 593 can align California’s policies, programs, and funding in a concerted effort towards achieving our climate targets and creating climate-ready homes and communities while strengthening the workforce,” said Jose Torres, California Director at the Building Decarbonization Coalition.
California homes and buildings are the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the state, surpassed only by the transportation sector. These emissions contribute to climate change, impacting extreme heat, wildfires, and colder winters. In addition, building emissions create indoor and outdoor pollution, which negatively impacts public health. Equipping homes and buildings with clean, electric appliances can reduce emissions and protect against illnesses, including cancer, childhood asthma, and bronchitis.
AB 593 would require the strategy to prioritize equity for low-income and working-class communities of color by removing barriers to accessing highly-efficient zero-emission appliances like heat pumps. In California, 99% of low-income and working-class communities of color are impacted by severe pollution. Additionally, nearly a quarter of Californians lack access to cooling. Providing homes and buildings with heat pumps, which cool and heat in a single system, can improve air quality and create climate resilience in the face of extreme weather events.
The bill also requires that the strategic plan and implementation prioritize high-road workforce development, lessen impacts on ratepayers, and send clear signals to manufacturers and the industry. By creating a defined plan with accountability, California can serve as a model for other states as it works towards pollution-free homes and buildings.
Next, the bill has to be passed out of the Senate policy committee by July 14. If passed, AB 593 will continue to Senate Appropriations in August.