Berkeley becomes first U.S. city to ban natural gas in new homes

SFGate | 7/17/2019 | By Sarah Ravani
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Berkeley became the first city nationwide to ban the use of natural gas in new low-rise residential buildings in a unanimous vote Tuesday by the City Council.

The ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kate Harrison, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and phases out the use of natural gas by requiring all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to have electric infrastructure. After its passage, Harrison thanked the community and her colleagues “for making Berkeley the first city in California and the United States to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.”

City - Buildings - Structures - State - Moves

The city will include commercial buildings and larger residential structures as the state moves to develop regulations for those, officials said.

The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position in the Building and Safety Division within the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The employee will be responsible for implementing the ban.

Legislation - Gas - Buildings - Mayor - Jesse

“I’m proud to vote on groundbreaking legislation to prohibit natural gas in new buildings,” Mayor Jesse Arreguín said on Twitter. “We are committed to the #ParisAgreement and must take immediate action in order to reach our climate action goals. It’s not radical, it’s necessary.”

The ordinance applies to buildings that have been reviewed by the California Energy Commission and determined to meet state requirements and regulations if they are electric only, said Ben Gould, the chairman of Berkeley’s Community Environmental Advisory Commission.

Gould - Citizen - Representative - Commission

Gould said he spoke as a private citizen and not as a representative of the commission.

Those buildings are low-rise residential buildings, which include single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings. Therefore, Berkeley’s ordinance only applies to those buildings, but as the state approves more building types, the city will follow, Gould said.

Way - Ordinance - City - Regulations - State

The way the ordinance is written, the city’s regulations will update as the state commission approves more building models without having to return...
(Excerpt) Read more at: SFGate
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