Action

Attend the July 16 Berkeley City Council hearing on the ordinance requiring climate-friendly, all-electric new construction in Berkeley. If you cannot attend, email council@cityofberkeley.info to show your support!

Info

Next Tuesday, July 16th, the ordinance requiring climate-friendly, all-electric new construction in Berkeley will go before the City Council for its first public reading. The ordinance, introduced by Councilmember Kate Harrison, would phase out installation of polluting gas infrastructure when issuing permits for new buildings — an important step toward clean, healthy, and affordable homes for our community. If approved this ordinance could serve as a model for the rest of the country.

This first council hearing is critical and will set the stage for a final vote later this fall. Join us to show your elected representatives that Berkeley residents support climate-friendly, gas-free construction.

Take action: RSVP here to attend the Berkeley city council meeting on July 16th!

Can’t attend? Please email council@cityofberkeley.info by Tuesday, July 16, at 3 pm to express your support for this important item. Talking points below.

WHAT: First City Council hearing on Berkeley electrification ordinance
WHEN: Tuesday, July 16th at 6:00 PM
WHERE: School District Board Room, 1231 Addison St, Berkeley

The ordinance has only gotten this far thanks to the support of Berkeley residents like you who have sent messages and turned out at meetings to advocate for this important step toward clean, healthy, and affordable homes for our community. Now we need you to keep the momentum going at the July 16th city council hearing.

Click here to RSVP and to learn how this ordinance will protect public health, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save homeowners money.

Sample Letter to City Council

(Send to council@cityofberkeley.info by 3 pm Tue 7/16)

Dear Mayor and Members of the Berkeley City Council,

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a Berkeley voter [OR CONSTITUENT/OR BERKELEY NEIGHBOR]. I am writing in support of the Berkeley Building Electrification Ordinance on your agenda.

In Berkeley, 27% of city-wide greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of gas in the residential and commercial building sectors. Berkeley has set ambitious emission reduction goals — but the city is 18 percent behind its 2020 target. Building electrification is an essential strategy to curb climate and air pollution and will play an important role in helping us meet these goals.

Electric infrastructure is powered by increasingly clean sources. Here in Berkeley, our municipal buildings are powered by 100% carbon free electricity, and electricity for privately owned buildings is 85% carbon free at a minimum. Shifting to electric power in our buildings dramatically lowers greenhouse gas emissions by cleaning up emissions at the source of generation.

All-electric buildings can save homeowners money by lowering utility bills. Modern, high-efficiency electric heating technologies like heat pumps can cost less up-front than their gas counterparts — especially when installed during new construction — because there’s no need to extend costly gas pipelines and infrastructure.

Powering local homes and buildings with cleaner energy will improve public health by eliminating a substantial source of indoor air pollution. Gas appliances release dangerous toxins like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde, leading to air pollution levels in some homes that would be illegal if measured outside.

Please approve this ordinance, and let’s make this the beginning of Berkeley’s very own Green New Deal!

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]

Adopt an Ordinance adding a new Chapter 12.80 to the Berkeley Municipal Code Prohibiting Natural Gas Infrastructure in New Buildings (Reviewed by the Facilities, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment & Sustainability Committee)
Supplemental materials
From: Councilmembers Harrison, Davila, Bartlett, and Hahn Recommendation:

  1. Adopt an ordinance adding a new Chapter 12.80 to the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) prohibiting natural gas infrastructure in new buildings with an effective date of January 1, 2020.
  2. Refer to the November 2019 budget process for consideration of up to $273,341 per year to fund a new career position in the Building & Safety Division of the Department of Planning and Development. The staff person will assist with implementing the gas prohibition ordinance and reach codes, and perform other duties as specified in the Financial Implications section of this item.
    Financial Implications: See report
    Contact: Kate Harrison, Councilmember, District 4, 981-7140

Thanks for taking this action with us!

Igor Tregub for the Indivisible Berkeley Science and Environment Team