The Los Angeles City Council indicated support Wednesday for requiring all new buildings to be fully electrified, with a few exceptions.
The council voted for the city attorney to present an ordinance on Jan. 1 requiring the decarbonization of new buildings through electrification, except for accessory dwelling units, commercial kitchens and cooking facilities.
Under the recommended ordinance, all new buildings would be required to be electrified as of April 1, with an extension to June 1 for affordable housing projects. The ordinance would also require certain new residential buildings and hotels that exceed a certain number of units to install a solar thermal water heating system.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, chair of the council’s energy committee, said Los Angeles has lagged behind other cities in reducing pollution from buildings. Buildings in Los Angeles account for 43% of greenhouse emissions in the city, more than any other sector, according to O’Farrell.
“We must transition to environmentally friendlier energy sources that create a more sustainable, healthy environment for all of us to live,” O’Farrell said. “This is why the electrification of the places where we work, live and visit is so very important.”
The council requested that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power explore financial incentive programs for buildings that install solar thermal water heating systems, as well as restaurants owners who participate in the full electrification.
In another climate-related decision, the council voted to proceed with prohibiting the distribution and sale of Styrofoam products. A proposed ordinance would apply to businesses with more than 26 employees in April 2023, and for smaller businesses in April 2024.
“The city is saying no more to the chemicals that leach into our food and water sources and make their way into our bodies, which of course impacts our health,” O’Farrell said.