City Approves Phasing out Use of Natural Gas

At its Nov. 5 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to pass a local building resolution that implements part of the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP) by limiting the use of natural gas in newly constructed buildings on city property. The effort is intended to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) in Alameda. The move may mark the first step to phasing out natural gas citywide. 

The policy serves to establish immediate regulations on land owned by the city, especially given that the vacant lands owned by the city at Alameda Point represent a large portion of the remaining vacant lands in Alameda that may be developed with residential uses.

The city immediately recevied support from the Sierra Club on its decision. 

“Cities across California have been taking control of their energy future by passing local building codes to encourage phasing gas out of newly constructed buildings so that communities can be less reliant on outdated gas power and the City of Alameda is no different,” said Igor Tregub with the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club. “In passing this local resolution, the city has taken another bold but necessary step to ensure it is not left behind in California’s move toward a clean energy future.” 

According to the Sierra Club, Alameda is the 15th city in California to reduce gas use in buildings. In addition, last year the University of California adopted new regulations governing the use of natural gas on University-owned property.

In March the City Council declared a climate emergency and joined a global effort to get to net zero emissions as soon as possible. In September Council adopted an updated and revised CARP City with the goal of lowering citywide GHG emissions 50 percent below 2005 baseline levels by 2030 and achieving the vision of net-zero emissions as soon as possible.

The city found that natural gas and the infrastructure needed to transport gas to homes and businesses comprise 25 percent of GHG released in Alameda. Only transportation produces more. 

According to the city, use of electric heating and cooling infrastructure in new buildings could result in a reduction of 14,396 million tons of Alameda’s carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050.