Buildings are a formidable source of planet-warming pollution: Combustion of fossil fuels within them accounts for nearly one-tenth of U.S. emissions. The state of California has set aggressive goals to start reducing these emissions.
Unsurprisingly, the first effort to restrict natural gas use (which is more than 80% methane was by the city of Berkeley in late 2019. The ban was the first of its kind. Since then, several cities and counties in California have adopted similar bans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On Sept. 22nd, the city of Encinitas passed a new ordinance that will effectively eliminate the use of natural gas in new residential and commercial construction projects. The Encinitas regulation is a milestone, as it becomes the 50th city or county in California to place restrictions on natural gas. We suspect this trend will continue as local municipalities strive to meet the state’s aggressive climate protection goals.
Unfortunately, right here in Sonoma County, development interests (i.e. Bill Gallaher) threatened to sue the City of Windsor over the ban. Rather than enter an expensive legal fight City Council members felt they couldn't afford, Windsor revoked the ban. But Santa Rosa's ban is still in effect, as are San Francisco's, Oakland's and San Jose's.
Last month the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) defined the energy efficiency goals for the next ten years, 2022 to 2032. The new goals include allocating a dollar amount to the benefits of several new measures such as impacts to grid loads, demand response programs, etc. Perhaps the most significant piece of this new policy is attributing financial savings to greenhouse gas reduction efforts.
These are powerful signals that the days of running our civilization on the burning of fossil fuels is coming to an end. And ABS is proud to helping this change.