Ithaca, New York launches first city-wide electrification effort in the U.S.

The City of Ithaca, New York has voted to electrify its entire building stock — the first large-scale, city-wide decarbonization effort in the U.S.

Ithaca’s Common Council gave approval to Mayor Svante L. Myrick to negotiate a contract with BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based climate tech startup focused on greening aging urban buildings.

Installation of air source heat pumps with supporting energy efficiency upgrades and building improvements will cut Ithaca’s 400,000 tons of CO2 by 40% and create 400 new, green jobs, BlocPower estimates. The project is in line with Ithaca’s Green New Deal, which the city approved in 2019 to address climate change, economic inequality, and racial injustice.

“At the same time COP26 takes place in Glasgow, the City of Ithaca demonstrates its commitment to fight climate change by taking this very important step towards fully decarbonizing our building stock,” said Savante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, NY. “Through this program, the City expects to eliminate most emissions from energy use in existing residential and commercial buildings, which today account for almost 40% of the total emissions in our city.”

The City of Ithaca’s goal is to reach carbon-neutrality community-wide by 2030.

In August, the city lined up $100 million in financing to “climate-proof” buildings, as The Guardian reported. The city will seek an additional $250 million.

“We applaud the City of Ithaca’s bold vision and progressive plan to reduce fossil fuel dependency, improve the health and quality of life for its residents, embrace environmental social justice issues and fight the effects of climate change today to build a better tomorrow,” said Donnel Baird, CEO and co-founder of BlocPower. “Mayor Myrick, Ithaca’s Common Council and Planning & Economic Development Committee members have all demonstrated incredible leadership on this issue, and their hard work has laid the groundwork for other cities across the U.S. to follow.”