New San Francisco Buildings Say No to Natural Gas Starting 2021

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San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Madelman gives his proposition to ban natural gas in new infrastructures starting 2021. At first, the proposal made Residential Builders Association president Sean Keighran skeptical, believing that Mandelman’s idea is nothing but problematic.

Imagine living in a new building filled with all-electric heating and cooking machines deemed far too expensive and over-the-top. Additionally, food-centric Bay Area consumers would most likely be far from choosing an electric-powered stove over a gas tank for cooking purposes.

As Keighran learned more about technological improvements with both induction stoves and all-electric heating systems, he understood that his opposition against the idea was wrong. As he further studied the environmental gains of turning off natural gas, Keighran concluded that his current hope now lies for an all-electric residential evolution soon. According to him, the world is continuously evolving.

“I came to see that buyers will want this,” declared Keighran. “Buyers will expect this. The mind-set of the younger demographic is to want and demand this,” he added.

Additionally, Keighran affirmed Mandelman’s legislation.

“This is ahead of its time, but not by much,” Keighran said, adding, “Soon, the whole world will be following this path.”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously votes to prohibit natural gas in new infrastructures on Tuesday. The application of the decree would approximately cover 32 million square feet of business space in the city’s development channel and more than 54,000 houses. 

Several districts already imposed a natural gas ban on their city buildings. San Francisco proscribed the use of natural gas for any new city-owned property. Berkeley also followed suit by banning natural gas in new infrastructures a year ago. However, the California Restaurant Association pressed charges against the city for that prohibition.

Natural gas contributes over 40% of San Francisco’s total discharge of greenhouse gases, including 80% of building emissions. According to Mandelman, new establishments requiring cleaner, all-electric actions could help raise building security, increase indoor air quality, and lessen gas discharges all across the city. 

Former governor Jerry Brown legislates a 2018 executive order mandating the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2045 and controlling bleak gas emissions after that.

The law would warrant establishments to apply for building permits after June 30 of this year. Until January 1, 2022, planned properties with retail spaces get spared from the all-electric ordinance. The following dates after the set deadline would require building owners to request for a waiver to construct a mixed-fuel building to allow restaurant operations flexibility. The ordinance will not stop long-standing diners turn off their gas stoves.

In an official statement, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association agreed on the proposed terms and conditions regarding the natural gas ban.

“We completely understand the need for a focus of reduction of greenhouse emissions,” the statement reads, adding, “However, we have real concerns that a gas ban in new buildings would put additional restrictions on the spaces available for restaurants.”

The executive director of the housing action coalition, Todd David,

stated that his association agreed on the gas prohibition once realizing that it will not turn house production more expensive than it should be. According to David, he and the organization wanted to make sure it would not be costly.

“In the end, we were satisfied that it is at worst cost-neutral,” admitted David. “And there are some indications that it could save money,” he added.

Despite the positive support, the legislation also faced a few obstacles and setbacks, such as plumbers and pipefitters losing their jobs due to reduced work fixing gas pipes in buildings. To solve this issue, Mandelman also proposed introducing a water-recycling decree that could help prevent affected workers from losing their sources of income.

According to Mandelman, his legislation is “an incremental but important move to help save our planet.”