Solar Panels - Photo courtesy of Jeroen Van De Water on Unsplash

The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to have multiple city departments develop a plan for the implementation of a proposed ordinance that would require all new construction of buildings in Los Angeles to be zero-carbon.

Buildings in Los Angeles account for 43% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other sector, according to Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who is leading the effort.

Under her proposal, new zero-emission construction would not allow gas lines, with heating systems and other appliances instead being by operated by electricity. Appliances in the buildings would also have to be energy efficient.

Once Los Angeles transitions to 100% renewable energy — which the city aims to achieve by 2035 — the buildings would operate on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s carbon-neutral grid.

The motion was introduced by Raman with Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Paul Koretz.

“The reality is that all of the low hanging fruit of reducing emissions is gone, and buildings really make up an enormous source of our greenhouse gas emissions citywide, more than the manufacturing sector and more than cars here in L.A.,” Raman said. “I think we really have to focus on buildings and that’s exactly what this motion intends to do.”

The motion requests an implementation plan within 180 days from Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, with assistance from the City Attorney and the Climate Emergency Mobilization Office, for an ordinance and regulatory framework that would be in effect by Jan. 1 at the latest.

“We can see over the horizon at this moment what’s going to happen to Los Angeles and California, to this country and to this world, if we don’t stretch beyond what we think our reach is,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a February news conference announcing the proposal.

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