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U.S. capital bans natural gas use in new buildings, sets net-zero target

August 03, 2022





By 2026, all new buildings and substantial renovations in D.C. will have to be net-zero construction, meaning they produce as much energy as they consume, under legislation passed unanimously by the D.C. Council. The legislation, which also bans most natural gas use in new buildings, has now been signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Separate climate legislation, also signed by Bowser, commits to making the entire city carbon neutral by 2045.

“Buildings account for close to 75% of the District’s emissions,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh, who introduced the bills, during discussion of the legislation. “So making our buildings more efficient and ensuring that they use clean energy, is probably one of the most important steps we can take to achieve carbon neutrality.”

Building emissions come from the electricity and natural gas used for heating, air conditioning, hot water, cooking, and everything else that requires power. Earlier this year, a study found that ample natural gas leaks around the District are a contributor to climate change.

Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said the District had “raised the bar on climate action, not only in the nation’s capital, but for the whole country.”

“The District is now ahead of most states and most cities,” Tidwell said.

[Jacob Fenston]

More: D.C. Moves To Ban Natural Gas In Most New Buildings, Aiming For Carbon Neutrality

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