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San Francisco bars natural gas in new building construction starting in 2021

New homes and buildings in San Francisco won’t be able to use natural gas or other fossil fuels for their heating and appliances beginning in June of next year.

Instead, all new construction in the city must use only electricity for heating, cooling, cooking, and other activities, according to a new city ordinance passed unanimously on Tuesday by the city’s Board of Supervisors.

“It is necessary and appropriate to stop construction of new natural gas infrastructure in San Francisco in order to reduce the unique impacts San Francisco will endure from global warming,” the ordinance said.

Buildings make up a huge portion of San Francisco’s emissions. According to the ordinance, 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the city in 2017 came from the use of natural gas in their heating and appliances.

Any building that applies for a new construction permit after June of next year will be subject to the requirements, though an amendment to the ordinance allows restaurants to apply for a waiver through the end of 2022 to use a natural gas stove.

The ordinance is the next step for San Francisco, which had previously banned natural gas use in new city-owned buildings. In total, 38 cities in California have adopted measures requiring that all new buildings either be electric or free of natural gas, according to a tally from the Sierra Club.