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“Building electrification,” once a subject embraced only by energy and climate nerds, is going mainstream.
In 2019, Berkeley, California passed the nation’s first ordinance banning new buildings from hooking up to the natural gas system. That required homebuilders and developers to install electric heat pumps, electric dryers, and, perhaps most controversially, electric stoves. The city council considered it a necessary step to cut carbon emissions, about a tenth of which here in the U.S. comes from burning fossil fuels inside homes, offices, and other sites.
Less than four years later, this approach has proliferated. If you’re reading this in the United States, there’s a good chance you live somewhere that has followed Berkeley’s lead. A report published Wednesday by the Building Decarbonization Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to getting fossil fuels out of buildings, estimates that one in five Americans now reside in a place that encourages or requires landlords and developers to eschew gas.