Policy Update

States and Cities Tackle Building Decarbonization



NCEL Point of Contact

Ava Gallo
Climate and Energy Program Manager


Buildings account for almost 40% of U.S. energy consumption making significant contributors to carbon emissions.

Washington State recently enacted HB 1257, which requires the Department of Commerce to establish efficiency standards for buildings over 50,000 square feet. While these make up a small percentage of buildings in the state, they account for an overwhelming amount of overall building emissions.

At the local level, both New York City and Washington, D.C. have passed laws aimed at reducing building emissions.

  • New York City’s law is the first of any city to set specific emission limits on large buildings. The law targets buildings over 25,000 square feet and imposes limits to reduce building emissions 80% by 2050.
  • Washington, D.C.’s law groups buildings by size and sets minimum energy efficiency standards for each building type. This will initially start with buildings over 50,000 square feet and will expand to smaller buildings over time.