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From California to Minnesota to New York. How local action for building decarbonization is making waves

From the sunny neighborhoods of California to the frosty landscapes of Minnesota and the bustling streets of New York, grassroots movements are igniting change in the realm of building decarbonization. As state-wide initiatives gain momentum nationwide, they underscore the pivotal role of communities in driving impactful change towards a healthier, cleaner future.



Community members came out in support of a proposal to explore neighborhood-scale decarbonization projects in the City of Richmond (photo credit: ACCE, Eric Lerner)

On February 27th, community members in the City of Richmond, organizing with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) asked the City of Richmond to invest in future zonal decarbonization (or as we like to call it, neighborhood-scale) projects by hiring a local coordinator to identify and secure funding for these kinds of projects moving forward. The community members working with ACCE recognize that investing in all-electric buildings can provide positive health outcomes while centering the City of Richmond at the forefront of the clean energy movement. The City Council unanimously approved a motion to hire an additional staff person and to focus on potential neighborhood-scale decarbonization pilot projects. We applaud the efforts of all those involved in ensuring the health and well-being of their communities by bringing neighborhood-scale decarbonization projects to the forefront. 



Minnesotans from across the state gather at the Capitol to demand bold climate and housing policy (photo credit: ISAIAH)

Decarbonization happens through collective action and that is on full display in Minnesota. The Building The Future campaign held what might be the largest state lobby day in the building decarbonization movement’s history on February 22. Led by ISAIAH, 100%, AND Unidos, the campaign brought over 700 people through more than 90 lobby visits to communicate to legislators the need for decarbonized, dignified, affordable homes. This advocacy came ahead of the 2024 legislative session where numerous climate and housing bills are being debated by their state representatives.

New York

Ny Heat Rally

Photo by Ken Schles.

NY HEAT Rally in Albany

BDC joined dozens of lawmakers and hundreds of advocates in Albany on March 13, 2024 to demand that political leaders in Albany deliver New Yorkers cleaner heat and lower bills by including the full NY HEAT Act in their final state budget. The NY HEAT Act  aligns utility regulation with NY’s climate act, ending the 100’ rule, amending the utility obligation to provide gas service, and limits utility energy bills to 6% of household income. It would protect New Yorkers from rising energy costs by limiting household utility bills to 6% of a family’s income. 

“I really see the change in the obligation to serve as the most important provision at the heart of this bill. It just unlocks the ability to invest in neighborhood scale decarbonisation efforts in a way that avoids this spiral of increasing costs spent on the gas system.” 

– Allison Considine, New York Sr. Campaigns and Communications Manager at the Building Decarbonization Coalition. 

Read more about the NY Heat Act and watch a recording of the rally here.

Further coverage of this rally and the NY HEAT Act.