The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
March 3rd, 2020

Cities and States Continue to Lead Carbon Reduction Initiatives

Years ago, I predicted that we’d see regional, state and local legislation eclipse federal law when it comes to carbon emission reductions. Over and over, we’ve seen this point validated in the form of aggressive localized plans, but there is still some activity at the national level.

Case in point: I was reminded at the recent FGIA (Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance) spring meeting that the Green New Deal is still active legislation that backers claim will create new jobs, while moving the U.S. toward zero greenhouse emissions. Some of the initiatives would include a renewable-energy-driven power grid, investments in high-speed railroads and support for family farming.

Just last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one of the bill’s sponsors, read the proposed plan on the House floor in its entirety in an effort to ensure all parties understood and had read the proposal. In my opinion, we won’t see movement on this, especially since this is an election year and the Green New Deal is more likely to be a political battleground.

Meanwhile, in the state of New York, a similar bill was recently passed, proving once again that states are taking the lead. Also known as the “Green New Deal,” the state bill has fewer moving parts with an emphasis on cutting carbon emissions mostly from better building envelopes—where New York estimates 71% of its emissions originate. The plan is to achieve net zero by 2050 and a 40% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. It’s been referred to as the most ambitious carbon target in the country.

Relevant to our industry, the New York version of the Green New Deal has a stretch target for windows that would reduce U-factors from 0.32 to 0.27.

Tacking onto this, former New York City mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg wants to take things to another level by targeting other carbon emission sources, such as cars, which he’s proposing be all-electric by 2025.

What does this mean to us?

The View from Here is that if states continue to develop their own laws relating to energy emissions, things will become increasingly more complicated for national window manufactures who likely prefer one standard for the entire country.

At the end of the day, I am not sure either of these plans are feasible, let alone affordable. But I do believe that any efforts to create more energy-efficient building envelopes is an opportunity for our industry in terms of future sales and continued innovation.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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