Berkeley Bans Natural Gas in New Residential Buildings

canadafreepress.com | 8/27/2019 | Institute for Energy Research
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While natural gas is setting consumption records nationwide, Berkeley, California, is banning its use in new residential buildings. Beginning January 1, 2020, the city will not allow developers to build homes, townhouses, or small apartment buildings with natural gas hook-ups for cooking, heating, or hot water. Berkeley intends to expand the ban to bigger apartment buildings and commercial structures as it implements its goal of “fossil-free new buildings.” For those wishing to have a gourmet gas stove in their kitchen, Berkeley will not allow it in a new house.

Berkeley’s 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. Electric-only buildings are equipped with heat pumps and induction cooking. The city’s regulations will automatically update as the state commission approves more building models without having to return to the City Council for a vote. The ordinance does not apply to existing buildings.

Berkeley - Climate - Action - Plan - Greenhouse

In 2009, Berkeley adopted a Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050. As part of the plan, the city is to use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035.

Berkeley’s population has increased by 18 percent since 2000. With increasing numbers of people, more housing was built. From 2014 to 2017, the Planning Department approved building permits for 525 residential units and occupancy permits for 925 units. More housing is expected—with the construction of 1,400 units due to the Adeline Corridor Plan alone.

City - Council - Consumption - Gas - City

The City Council found that the consumption of natural gas within city buildings accounted for 27 percent of Berkeley’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, which is equivalent to the consumption of 20 million gallons of gasoline a year.

The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position that will have...
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