A growing number of cities are eliminating natural gas hookups in new homes and buildings as they work to reduce emissions and help meet climate targets.
The big picture: Fossil fuels burned in buildings contribute a tenth of overall U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While coal use continues to decline, natural gas use has held steady, making it a prime target in efforts to decarbonize.
Where it stands: At least 8 California cities have passed new policies this year to support all-electric new construction, and the trend is spreading beyond the state.
- In July, Berkeley became the first U.S. city to ban gas in new construction, starting in 2020. San Luis Obispo, San Jose and other California cities have followed suit, and similar legislation has been proposed in San Francisco.
- Seattle passed new legislation designed to speed the transition to electric heating by taxing home heating oil. The city is also considering an ordinance that would prohibit gas in new homes and buildings.
- Brookline and Cambridge, in Massachusetts, are considering their own measures.
Context: Reducing GHG emissions from buildings to keep pace with climate goals will require increasing efficiency, transitioning from fossil fuel to electric appliances, and boosting supplies of renewable energy, according to a report published in August by scientists with the Department of Energy.