California takes a first-of-its-kind step on building decarbonization

Read the full story from Smart Cities Dive.

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to adopt changes to the state building energy efficiency standards that in part heavily encourage the use of electric heat pumps over gas alternatives. The state updates the code every three years. If later approved by the California Building Standards Commission, the changes will apply to all newly built or renovated residential and nonresidential structures beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

The vote follows building decarbonization action in dozens of California cities — including BerkeleySan Francisco, San Jose and Oakland — some of which have taken even more clear-cut steps to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in certain new buildings and make electric appliances standard.

The updated code also has provisions for adding solar power and battery storage features to many new structures and establishes “electric-ready” requirements for homes. According to estimates the commission shared, over a 30-year span the revamped code would provide a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction equivalent to taking 2.2 million cars off the road for a year.

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