For Immediate Release: December 7, 2022
LOS ANGELES -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council took the final vote to update the City’s Building Code to require all new residential and commercial buildings in Los Angeles to be built so that they will achieve zero-carbon emissions. The motion – introduced by Councilmember Nithya Raman and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell, Paul Koretz, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson – was approved by the full Council in May, 2022.
“Today is a new day for Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Nithya Raman. “With this legislation, we are drastically transforming the physical infrastructure of our City with the urgency our climate crisis demands. We have created a regulatory framework for all new residential and commercial buildings in Los Angeles to be built so that they will achieve zero-carbon emissions as our electric grid becomes carbon-free – and we have moved swiftly to make this the law of the land starting next year.”
Buildings in Los Angeles account for 43% of greenhouse gas emissions—more than any other sector in the city, including transportation. As the City’s electric grid becomes carbon-free by 2035, all-electric buildings will become zero-carbon. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, all-electric buildings also have better indoor air quality, lower construction costs, fewer safety risks—especially during earthquakes—and lower climate emissions than equivalent mixed-fuel buildings.
“Building decarbonization is the City Council’s long overdue response to SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon obscene, climate-killing gas storage blowout in 2015. Today’s action will start the process of unhooking our buildings from the dangerous, leaky methane gas pipeline infrastructure that SoCalGas has proven to be so wildly incapable of managing safely,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, one of the primary co-authors of the legislation. “This will help us eventually shut down the gas storage facility still threatening Porter Ranch at Aliso Canyon, help us shut down the gas storage facility threatening LAX at Playa del Rey, halt the negative health impacts Angelenos suffer from gas stoves and gas furnaces in their homes and businesses, and better protect our fragile, overheating planet.”
Under the ordinance adopted by the City Council today, all newly constructed buildings for which a building permit is submitted after April 1, 2023, will be required to be all-electric, with a delayed implementation for affordable housing projects, which will be required to be all-electric starting with projects that apply for building permits after June 1, 2023. Attached accessory dwelling units, commercial cooking equipment, gas-powered industrial process equipment, and gas-powered life safety systems, including emergency backup, will be exempt from this requirement. Where commercial cooking equipment and gas-powered industrial process equipment are installed, however, the building will be required to be made “electric-ready,” with electric infrastructure installed to accommodate the future installation of electric equipment.
Councilmember Raman emphasized, “I am so proud of the work our partners have done to make this happen, and I am proud to say that the city we are building today is laying the groundwork for the cleaner, healthier, and more equitable and sustainable Los Angeles of tomorrow.”