A trailblazing ordinance requiring climate-friendly, all-electric new construction in Berkeley is going before the City Council for its first public reading. The ordinance, introduced by Councilmember Kate Harrison, would phase out installation of polluting gas infrastructure when issuing permits for new buildings—an important step toward clean, healthy, and affordable homes for Berkeley, and potentially other communities that follow Berkeley’s example.
This first council hearing is critical and will set the stage for a final vote later this summer. Come show Berkeley’s elected representatives that the community supports climate-friendly, gas-free construction.
Some background from our friends at the Sierra Club:
In Berkeley, 27% of city-wide greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of gas in the residential and commercial building sectors. Berkeley has set ambitious emission reduction goals, but the city is 18 percent behind its 2020 target. Building electrification is an essential strategy to curb climate and air pollution and will play an important role in helping the city meet these goals.
Electric infrastructure is powered by increasingly clean sources. Berkeley’s municipal buildings are powered by 100% carbon free electricity, and electricity for privately-owned buildings is 85% carbon free at a minimum. Shifting to electric power in the city’s buildings dramatically lowers greenhouse gas emissions by cleaning up emissions at the source of generation.
All-electric buildings can save homeowners money by lowering utility bills. Modern, high-efficiency electric heating technologies like heat pumps can cost less up-front than their gas counterparts—especially when installed during new construction—because there’s no need to extend costly gas pipelines and infrastructure.
Powering local homes and buildings with cleaner energy will improve public health by eliminating a substantial source of indoor air pollution. Gas appliances release dangerous toxins like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, leading to air pollution levels in some homes that would be illegal if measured outside.