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California considers statewide ban on natural gas heat, hot water in new homes

Code update would take effect in 2023.

January 21, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

The California Energy Commission is considering a statewide ban on the use of natural gas for heating and hot water in new homes.

Such a code update would take effect in 2023 if the commission goes ahead with the ban. Environmental groups want a complete ban on natural gas in new homes, but the commission isn't likely to take that step yet. Instead, it is likely to use incentives to urge developers to pick electric heating via efficient means such as heat pumps.

Natural gas in buildings generates about 10% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the California Air Resources Board. That board recently urged the implementation of stronger kitchen ventilation standards and electrification of appliances, including stoves, ovens, furnaces, and space and water heaters, in the 2022 code cycle for all new buildings.

To date, more than 40 cities and counties in California have tightened rules on natural gas use in new homes. A few, including San Francisco, have banned it entirely.

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