This Major City Is Banning Gas Power In New Buildings

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This year, Los Angeles will become California’s largest city to prohibit the use of natural gas in new construction. That’s because the Municipal Council unanimously enacted an ordinance last month requiring all new structures inside city limits to be built with all-electric equipment.

Environmentalists have welcomed the legislation as critical to Los Angeles’ goal of making all new buildings net zero by 2030. Buildings are currently the city’s most polluting sector, accounting for 43 percent of total climate pollution. “We think this is a super important, logical first step that allows us to make progress in our net-zero carbon goals,” Chelsea Kirk, a policy analyst at the economic justice nonprofit Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, told the Los Angeles Daily News. Electrifying the city’s buildings could also reduce indoor air pollution, limit the risk of fires and explosions, and even lower construction costs.

The law, which requires the use of electricity for everything from space and water heating systems to kitchen equipment, will take effect on April 1 for most new buildings approved by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. Affordable housing proposals will be treated differently: those approved before June 1 will be exempt from the rules. Meanwhile, secondary housing units on single-family sites are exempt from the new regulations, and eateries can continue to utilize gas ranges and ovens.

The legislation in Los Angeles is comparable to that in dozens of other California cities, including Berkeley, Cupertino, San Francisco, and San Jose. Experts suggest California lawmakers should restrict natural gas in new construction for all buildings when the state updates its building rules in 2024 to fulfill a statewide objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Funding for the installation of electric appliances in the state’s existing building stock will be equally crucial.

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