Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn I recommend visiting cushmanwakefield.com to read:%0A%0A {0} %0A%0A {1}

Natural Gas and Fossil Fuel Bans in New Construction

Sean Starkey • 1/20/2022

In December, New York City joined a growing list of cities to pass legislation banning the use of natural gas in most new buildings.1  The bill prohibits combustion of any substance that emits 25 kilograms or more of CO2 per BTU. Starting after 2023, construction projects under seven stories must use electricity instead of fossil fuels as their energy source. This measure will go into effect for buildings over seven stories in 2027.2   Exemptions are available for manufacturing, laboratories, laundromats, hospitals, crematoriums, and commercial kitchens. The policy is projected to cut about 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, equivalent to the annual emissions of 450,000 cars.3  

The New York City Council followed the lead of Berkeley, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and New Jersey among many others in enacting legislation banning natural gas in new construction.

  • Berkeley, CA banned all natural gas infrastructure in new construction, starting in January of 2020. The legislation does not apply to existing buildings, renovations, or additions.4
  • San Francisco, CA implemented a similar policy in 2020, but attached a waiver good until 2021 permitting gas stoves in all-electric restaurants.5  
  • Seattle, WA approved a natural gas ban for space heating in commercial and apartment buildings taller than three stories effective January 2022. Additionally, existing commercial and apartment buildings will be required to wire for future electrification of appliances.6 
  • Denver, CO approved an ordinance at the end of 2021 requiring buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to switch to electric heating systems by 2025. In January 2022, the city will begin exploring an electrification requirement for all new buildings by 2030.7 
  • Under New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, all buildings are required to be fully electric by 2050.8 

Berkeley, CA was the first US city to ban natural gas infrastructure in new buildings in support of electrification, “the replacement of fossil-fuel-powered appliances equipment for electric appliances” (aka “fuel switching”).  Electrification of new and existing buildings will allow for buildings to take advantage of an increasingly “cleaner” grid, which is integrating more non-emitting and renewable energy. As of 2019, residential and commercial buildings made up 13% of total US emissions.10  

This regulation lines up with the closeout of COP 26, a global climate summit where attending participants were apprised of the urgency required to tackle some of these issues. However, differences remained on which countries should take most of the responsibility to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As a result, many localities like New York are stepping in to help achieve the goal established in the Paris Climate Agreement of net-zero emissions by 2050. And with 80% of the buildings that will stand in 2050 already exist today, retrofitting existing buildings to operate using electricity will be more of a priority in these regions.11

In the US, natural gas is now responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Globally, according to Environmental Research Letters, natural gas emissions are growing faster than any other fuel source. Beyond direct emissions of natural gas from use in cooking, heating, and laundry, the production and distribution of natural gas is also often associated with methane leakage, a GHG with 20-80x the climate-warming potential of carbon dioxide.12  

So, what’s next for natural gas in the US? While many cities are looking to pass similar legislation to New York, others are seeking to pass state-wide bans on any limitations to natural gas, citing higher electricity prices and a consumer’s right to “energy choice.”13  Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas passed legislation preempting any natural gas ban. Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas also adopted policies to raise the price of energy deriving from renewable sources.14  

Despite there currently being no federal legislation for building electrification, the natural gas ban in New York adds to a trend of more municipalities taking action to curb emissions. Although it may not be required in your area yet, working proactively towards more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings may pay dividends as more legislation like New York’s is passed around the country. 

Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy and Sustainability Services team is prepared to help owners and property teams identify opportunities to reduce energy use and cost, as well as see lower GHG emissions. Our deep bench of building operations, energy, and engineering professionals provide our ability to translate building and energy data to actionable conservation measures. Leveraging our broad spectrum of expertise, we recommend best operational practices gathered from our portfolio to streamline operations and improve efficiencies properties, as well as provide insights into capital planning strategies and energy markets to reduce emissions. 

Energy & Sustainability
Prepare your real estate portfolio for the challenges ahead by partnering with Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy & Sustainability team.
Learn more

1 Scott Disavino, “New York City Bans Natural Gas in New Buildings,” Reuters (Thomson Reuters, December 16, 2021), https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/new-york-city-set-ban-natural-gas-new-buildings-2021-12-15/ External Link.

2 “Mayor De Blasio Signs Landmark Bill to Ban Combustion of Fossil Fuels in New Buildings,” The official website of the City of New York, December 22, 2021, https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/852-21/mayor-de-blasio-signs-landmark-bill-ban-combustion-fossil-fuels-new-buildings External Link.

3 Emma Newburger, “New York City Is Banning Natural Gas Hookups for New Buildings to Fight Climate Change,” CNBC (CNBC, December 15, 2021), https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/15/new-york-city-is-banning-natural-gas-hookups-for-new-buildings.html External Link.

4 Egelko, Bob. “Berkeley's Ban on Natural Gas in New Buildings Upheld by Federal Judge.” San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle, July 9, 2021.

5 J.K. Dineen, “No More Natural Gas in New San Francisco Buildings Starting next Year,” San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, November 13, 2020), https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/No-more-natural-gas-in-new-San-Francisco-15717658.php External Link.

6 Eric Christensen, Kirstin Gruver, and Rujeko Muza, “Seattle Bans Natural Gas in New Buildings,” The National Law Review, February 4, 2021, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/seattle-bans-natural-gas-new-buildings External Link.

7 Alayna Alvarez, “Denver Takes Steps to Cut Greenhouse Gases from Commercial Buildings,” Axios, November 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/local/denver/2021/11/30/denver-cut-greenhouse-gases-commercial-buildings External Link.

8 “Gov. Murphy Will Eliminate Natural Gas in NJ,” Hudson Reporter, October 5, 2021, https://hudsonreporter.com/2021/10/05/gov-murphy-will-eliminate-natural-gas-in-nj/#:~:text=Governor%20Phil%20Murphy%20has%20announced,for%20the%20majority%20of%20residents External Link.

9 Amanda Myers, “As Cities Begin Banning Natural Gas, States Must Embrace Building Electrification via Smart Policy,” Forbes (Forbes Magazine, July 29, 2019), https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2019/07/22/as-cities-begin-banning-natural-gas-states-must-embrace-building-electrification-with-smart-policy/?sh=3d8a73466ce6 External Link.

10 Katherine Blunt, “Battle Brews over Banning Natural Gas to Homes,” The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company, May 31, 2021), https://www.wsj.com/articles/battle-brews-over-banning-natural-gas-to-homes-11622334674?reflink=desktopwebshare_twitter External Link.

11 COP26. “Commercial Buildings: A Real Asset in Addressing Climate Change? | #COP26.” YouTube. YouTube, November 4, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cjr8xbrwr1g External Link

12 Irina Ivanova, “Cities Are Banning Natural Gas in New Homes, Citing Climate Change,” CBS News (CBS Interactive, December 6, 2019), https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cities-are-banning-natural-gas-in-new-homes-because-of-climate-change/ External Link.

13 Hilary Aidun and Claire Hodges, “STATES PROHIBITING NATURAL GAS BANS FEIGN CONCERN FOR ‘ENERGY CHOICE,’” Climate Law Blog (Sabin Center for Climate Change Law), accessed January 4, 2022, http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatechange/2021/09/09/states-prohibiting-natural-gas-bans-feign-concern-for-energy-choice/ External Link.
 
14 Amy Turner, “MUNICIPAL NATURAL GAS BANS: ROUND 2 (THE EVOLUTION OF STATE PREEMPTION LAW),” Climate Law Blog (Sabin Center for Climate Change Law), accessed January 4, 2022, http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatechange/2020/07/29/municipal-natural-gas-bans-round-2-the-evolution-of-state-preemption-law/.

Related Insights

122021GreenIsGoodSpotlightPt3webcard
Research • Multifamily

Green is Good Series

Across the commercial real estate (CRE) investment landscape, ESG-focused funds have been growing in popularity across institution types. 
Jacob Albers • 3/29/2022
1021ESTopCitieswebcard
Article • Office

2021 Top Cities for ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings

In June 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual “Top Cities” list, presenting the cities with the largest number of ENERGY STAR® certified commercial and multifamily buildings in the past year. 
Jack Pufunt • 10/20/2021
Energy (image)
Article • Sustainability

Countering Climate Change with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

Running buildings efficiently is critical to not only save money, but also to help protect the environment. 

 

Jack Pufunt • 8/3/2021

Ready to talk?

Our professionals are ready to provide further details on this and many other topics.

With your permission we and our partners would like to use cookies in order to access and record information and process personal data, such as unique identifiers and standard information sent by a device to ensure our website performs as expected, to develop and improve our products, and for advertising and insight purposes.

Alternatively click on More Options and select your preferences before providing or refusing consent. Some processing of your personal data may not require your consent, but you have a right to object to such processing.

You can change your preferences at any time by returning to this site or clicking on  Cookies

More Options
Agree and Close
These cookies ensure that our website performs as expected,for example website traffic load is balanced across our servers to prevent our website from crashing during particularly high usage.
These cookies allow our website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced features. These cookies do not gather any information about you that could be used for advertising or remember where you have been on the internet.
These cookies allow us to work with our marketing partners to understand which ads or links you have clicked on before arriving on our website or to help us make our advertising more relevant to you.
Agree All
Reject All
SAVE SETTINGS