Energy News Today

Woe to the home chef — gas could be banned from new San Francisco buildings

The gas stove, long considered a must-have for home chefs in the food-obsessed Bay Area, would be banned in new housing and commercial buildings in San Francisco under legislation aimed at significantly cutting the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, along with the city’s Department of the Environment, will introduce legislation that would prohibit the use of natural gas in newly constructed buildings in San Francisco.

This ordinance would apply to construction of all new buildings, both residential and nonresidential, that apply for initial building permits after Jan. 1, 2021. It would not impact existing buildings and would allow for some limited exceptions on a case-by-case basis if the developer or business is able to make a case that an all-electric building system would not be feasible using current technology.

Proposed restaurants would have an extra year to come into compliance. Natural gas water heaters would also be banned as would any system or device for heating, cooling, cooking or clothes-drying.

The ban would apply to about 16,000 housing units currently in the city’s pipeline.

“We need to move to an all-electric future in California and the world,” Mandelman said. “The scale of the (coronavirus) crisis we are in pales in comparison to the crisis we will face if we don’t get our greenhouse gas emissions under control.”

Stanchions are seen on the roof of Casa Adalante at 2060 Folsom Street and the San Francisco skyline beyond it on Monday, June 29, 2020 in San Francisco, Calif. The stanchions will support the solar panel grid for Casa Adalante after they are installed. Casa Adalante is an all-electric senior housing development.

San Francisco has set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets at 68% by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050. In 2018, the residential buildings sector, which accounted for 22% of the city’s carbon footprint, had 88% of emissions come from natural gas. At the same time, commercial buildings, which accounted for an additional 22% of the city’s carbon footprint, generated 76% of their emissions from natural gas, according to the city’s Department of the Environment.

Debbie Raphael, who heads up the environment department, said eliminating natural gas would also cut down on fires. On average in the United States, a natural gas or oil pipeline catches fire every four days, results in an injury every five days, explodes every 11 days, and leads to a fatality every 26 days, according to research done by the…

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2020-06-30 16:34:55

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