Supervisor Vallie Brown announced on July 22nd that she is introducing legislation that will end natural gas use in new municipal construction and major building renovations. The bill, co-sponsored by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, will move San Francisco towards its goal of producing net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The supervisors aim to pass it into effect by January 1st, 2020.
According to Brown, buildings generate 44 percent of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions. Though municipal buildings are currently already greenhouse gas-free through the use of Hetch Hetchy hydroelectricity, Brown says making them completely emissions-free is essential to the transition to a greener future.
“We’ll never achieve our net-zero carbon climate goals until all our buildings go all-electric,” Brown said. “As we begin that transition, it’s important the City step up and lead by example by decarbonizing our own municipal buildings.”
Brown’s proposal follows a growing number of all-electric buildings in San Francisco’s public and private sectors. City Administrator Naomi Kelly says the bill affirms the city’s environmentally-friendly municipal construction practices.
“San Francisco has always made environmental sustainability a priority in municipal building construction, with 67 LEED-certified projects in our portfolio,” Kelly said. “Environmental sustainability reduces emissions and results in savings for our taxpayers.”
In reviewing the city’s climate action plans, Mandelman chaired a public hearing Monday on the Department of the Environment’s technical report regarding emission reductions. According to Debbie Raphael, the Director of the Department of the Environment, San Francisco’s electrification policies yield positive impacts.
“With CleanPowerSF anchoring our electrification efforts, we are well-positioned to tackle emissions in transportation and buildings,” Raphael said. “Electrification not only reduces emissions but also improves air quality, which reduces asthma rates and creates a more livable city and region for everybody.”
Mandelman sees this legislation as a crucial next step in the city’s commitment to climate action.
“San Francisco has long been a leader on environmental issues, but we all know we must accelerate our progress,” Mandelman said. “Reducing emissions that come from buildings is critical to achieving our emissions reductions goals, and I am proud to join in this effort to ban natural gas in city buildings.”