UPDATE (January 13, 2021): We did it! Join us in applauding the City of Santa Barbara for moving forward an Energy Code Amendment that would require new buildings to be built all-electric instead of also using natural gas. After a marathon hearing that ended after 11:00 p.m. last night, the Council voted 7-0 to have staff continue to consult with stakeholders and bring back a refined all-electric code. There was tremendous support from the community – many architects and builders described their recent successful all-electric projects and residents shared their positive experiences of living in all-electric homes.
This important code will help the City move toward all-electric buildings powered by 100% clean power. These new buildings will help make zero carbon communities possible and will get us a step closer to the City’s goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2035. If the code amendment continues to move forward it will:
- Require that new buildings be built to use the most efficient, clean energy available (i.e. all-electric homes can use heat pumps that can be up to 300% more efficient than gas heaters while being powered by renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels).
- Lower construction costs for developers and increase access to affordable housing.
- Reduce monthly utility bills for residents and businesses.
- Improve indoor air quality and mitigate harmful health impacts like asthma.
- Expand access to electric heat pumps that can be operated in reverse to provide high efficiency cooling.
Let’s continue to build on this momentum.
You can help by continuing to engage in the process as the City conducts outreach events over the next month or two. Based upon feedback from the community, City staff will bring forward a Code Amendment with finalized language. This final code may be voted on as soon as February, so stay tuned for this next hearing.
On Tuesday, January 12, the Santa Barbara City Council will consider an Energy Code Amendment that would require new buildings to be built all-electric instead of also using natural gas. If adopted, the City of Santa Barbara would join 40 other California communities that have taken this important step.
Why support this amendment?
- It helps us meet our Carbon Neutrality goals
- Fossil fuels like natural gas are incompatible with the City’s goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2035.
- As the City begins offering 100% renewable electricity, all-electric buildings will help us get one step closer to Zero Carbon Communities.
- All-electric buildings have more than just climate benefits. They are:
- Less expensive to construct – they don’t need new gas piping and gas meters, making them more affordable.
- Healthier – combusting natural gas indoors has been documented to increase air pollution – at times to levels that would be illegal outdoors and that exacerbate health conditions such as asthma.
- The Code would apply ONLY to new construction where it is most cost-effective. It would have no impact on any existing homes and will not require retrofitting of existing natural gas appliances.
SoCalGas is fighting back and is, unfortunately, using questionable tactics. Many South Coast residents recently received a misleading spam text, and are now pressuring the City Council to abandon their strong climate goals.