Statement: California building code not going electric fast enough.

Media Contacts

Sacramento, CA– Today the California Energy Commission held a workshop about the proposed updates to the building code for low-rise residential buildings. 

The commission is proposing to transition to a partial electric heating standard in buildings in 2022 and head toward all-electric heating in buildings in 2025. Although this is the right direction, the proposal moves too slowly, still allowing building new homes with fossil fuel powered heating and cooling systems for years to come. Given the speed of climate change and urgency for action to transition away from fossil fuel dependence in the newly built environment of the next decade, we need bolder leadership from California now. 

Below are comments from Laura Deehan, State Director for Environment California and Environment California Research and Policy Center. 

“Today’s proposal does not go far enough, fast enough. I stand in support of an all-electric baseline for all building types, to ensure new buildings in California are all electric by 2022.”

 “The climate crisis has already arrived in California. The worsening wildfires that swept the state this past year, leading to California having the worst air quality in the entire world, were a vivid wake up call that we just cannot wait to act as strongly as possible to avert the worst impacts of climate change.” 

 “We have to move away swiftly from dependence of fossil fuels towards 100 percent clean, renewable energy. I’m asking for your leadership to ensure California goes to all-electric buildings as fast as possible. Electric buildings are better for public health and cheaper to build and operate than those powered by gas.” 

“We can’t afford a slow transition. We continue to rely on the direct burning of fossil fuels for heat, hot water and to run appliances. Our state has made a commitment to transition to a carbon-free future. To get there, we have to electrify our buildings.”

“Fortunately, with advances in electric technologies including heat pumps, water heaters and other appliances like induction stoves, it is now easier and more affordable to go all-electric and reap benefits while doing it. According to the San Francisco Department of Environment, building all-electric systems is cheaper than building with gas for every single housing type.” 

“Our state must take advantage of efficiency, electric technologies and lead the way for the rest of America. Over 40 cities in California have adopted building codes to reduce their reliance on gas. We need to lead at the state level too, as the Biden administration aims to meet their campaign goal of cutting building emissions in half by 2035. 

“The CEC proposal presented today does not go far enough. It would allow new buildings dependent on fossil fuels years into the future. Please consider accelerating the timeline for going electric, by adopting a single, all-electric baseline for all building types this code cycle.”