San Francisco’s board of supervisors unanimously voted this week to ban gas in new buildings, making it the second-largest city in the country to do so.
The new law goes into effect in June 2021 and will apply to more than 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet of business space scheduled for construction. The measure does make an exception for restaurants, which can apply for an 18 month exemption.
Natural gas accounts for 40 percent of San Francisco’s emissions, making it the second-largest source of climate-warming pollution in the city. Overall, natural gas use is responsible for 80% of its buildings’ emissions.
So, all new commercial and residential developments will rely on the electricity grid. All-electric homes greatly improve indoor air quality as gas appliances produce nitrogen oxide pollution and, as an added bonus, all-electric homes are more cost-effective in the long run than their gas-powered counterparts. It’s a win-win situation for the environment and residents.
A dozen other cities across the U.S., most of which are in California, have passed legislation banning gas for new development. The largest city to pass a gas ban is San Jose, which did so last year. But San Francisco’s prohibition is the most strict and the quickest to be passed.
Let's hope this trend continues and spreads from the west coast to the east coast soon.