California regulators voted unanimously to develop new rules that would effectively ban the sale of natural gas-powered heating and hot water systems, a first-in-the-nation commitment.
Beginning in 2030, homeowners in California looking to replace their furnace or hot-water heater will only be able to purchase zero-emission appliances. Regulators expect this to primarily mean a switch to heat pumps - very efficient electric devices that can both heat and cool homes - as well as heat pump water heaters.
It will be the first legal mandate in the country designed to purge natural gas from existing buildings - in contrast with past policies aimed at stopping new developments from using the fuel.
The use of fossil fuels in homes for space and water heating, drying clothes, and cooking food is responsible for about 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. California municipalities have been at the vanguard of tackling these emissions for several years now, beginning in 2019 when the city of Berkeley passed an ordinance preventing new developments from hooking up to the gas system. Cities around the state and across the country have since followed with similar policies, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and, most recently, Chicago.
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