City of Santa Cruz Enacts Prohibition of Natural Gas

cities prohibiting natural gasThe city council in Santa Cruz voted unanimously on March 24 to prohibit gas hookups in most new buildings, bringing the total number of California building gas bans and electrification codes to thirty.

The ordinance, which aims to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, stresses Santa Cruz’s vulnerability to both sea-level rise and wildfires. Santa Cruz’s reach code incorporates parts of gas ban reach codes previously implemented in places like Berkeley and San Jose.

The ordinance applies to all residential and commercial buildings, except in cases where developers can prove electric systems are not feasible, or where the exception is for the public good, such as for hospitals or water treatment plants. existing buildings undergoing alterations, additions, or tenant improvements are exempt. The ordinance also includes narrow exemptions for cooking appliances in restaurants, heat and hot water in small guesthouses, facilities employing industrial process heat, and accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) of less than 750 square feet.

The prohibition effective date is July 1, 2020 for new construction requiring Design Permits and October 29, 2020 for new construction Buildings Permits not requiring a Design Permit.

Architectural drawings for both will require a cover sheet declaration: “Natural Gas-Free Design as required by SCMC 6.100” at submission.

The ordinance may be viewed at: ordinance.

For Further Reading:
• “To cut carbon emissions, a movement grows to ‘electrify everything’”: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/05/10/news/cut-carbon-emissions-movement-grows-electrify-everything
• “Ordinance prohibiting natural gas infrastructure in new buildings, with certain exceptions”: https://ceqanet.opr.ca.gov/2020040354/2
• “Think Global, Act Local: San Francisco’s Carbon Policy”, Architectural Record: https://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/14596-think-global-act-local-san-franciscos-carbon-policy

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