Despite some last-minute reservations, the Mountain View City Council on Tuesday unanimously gave final approval to a broad set of new building codes that ban the use of natural gas in all types of new home construction.

The building codes, updated as part of a routine three-year process, require that all housing -- from single-family homes and duplexes to condos and apartment complexes -- must be all-electric. Starting January 2020, the city will prohibit natural gas hookups for heating and cooling systems, water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves and fireplaces.

Prior to the final approval this week, the council had voted 7-0 on Oct. 22 to back the strict new requirements, which several members argued are essential to battle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. City staff had initially recommended that single-family homes and duplexes could continue to use gas for cooking appliances and fireplaces.

Councilman John McAlister said he was concerned that the council was potentially overstepping and "intruding on peoples' lives" by banning gas for cooking appliances. What's more, he said, he worried about the "unintended consequences" of what the council was on the cusp of adopting, and that some reports he had read showed all-electric homes may not lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

"There's more information that's coming out about the implications of what we're doing, and we need to just be following those and review our policies as more data comes out," he said.

Councilman Chris Clark suggested the possibility of delayed implementation for people who are right on the edge of submitting plans to the city's building department. Although considered by the council in October and approved this week, anyone seeking to submit plans that include gas hookups will have to do so by the end of next month.

A built-in delay would amount to a "material change" to the item, which would not be permissible during a second reading, said City Attorney Krishan Chopra. The idea was ultimately dropped.

Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga, a strong proponent of the gas ban, said she has heard the concerns of residents about the new building codes. She said she believes that the city should do more work educating the community on energy efficiency and sustainability efforts and hew fact from fiction.

"There's a lot of data, there's a lot of outdated data," Abe-Koga said. "Frankly I'm not up on the most up-to-date technology, but I think what I've gathered is, to quell the concerns we just need to be more diligent about educating the community."

Despite the comprehensive ban on nearly all uses of natural gas, exemptions will be available for commercial kitchens that prepare dishes that cannot be cooked using electric alternatives.

The approved building codes also introduce new requirements for parking lots that accommodate electric vehicles. For multi-unit housing and commercial development, 15% of the spaces must have a "Level 2" charging station capable of charging a car for up to 180 miles over the course of eight hours. The codes also require 100% of the spaces to be "EV Ready," meaning new development will have to build the electrical infrastructure for charging at every parking space.

I don't think the council is potentially overstepping their bounds, they are totally overstepping their bounds! I hope every member of the council drives an electric car and have converted their home to electric only appliances.

What is the plan when PG&E has better things to do with money from customers than to provide electricity or gas to customers? It already skipped investing in infrastructure. PG&E is retiring. Don't bother calling. Soon, no one will respond!

Just as pg&e begins to shut off power, MV wants to go all electric? I don’t think they thought this one out

Why not educate yourself before voting? Ignorance and wishful thinking are poor substitutes for critical thinking based upon facts.

I pointed out in the past that there are significant safety improvements when removing GAS from housing. The first one is that many apartments are being heated by gas and the heating units created CO. All CO detectors used currently do not detect low level CO pollution. The OSHA standards are 50 ppm for 8 hours of exposure. But all the detectors used today are not that sensitive and since they are dependent on chemical-electric sensors, these can be inaccurate due to other gases being present. These devices are not in fact up to the clean air act standards at all. Please read the following information: Carbon monoxide alarms ALTHOUGH THE POPULARITY OF CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) ALARMS HAS BEEN GROWING IN RECENT YEARS, IT CANNOT BE ASSUMED THAT EVERYONE IS FAMILIAR WITH THE HAZARDS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING IN THE HOME. Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The dangers of CO exposure depend on a number of variables, including the victim's health and activity level. Infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their body's ability to use oxygen (i.e. emphysema, asthma, heart disease) CAN BE MORE SEVERELY AFFECTED BY LOWER CONCENTRATIONS OF CO THAN HEALTHY ADULTS WOULD BE. A PERSON CAN BE POISONED BY A SMALL AMOUNT OF CO OVER A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME OR BY A LARGE AMOUNT OF CO OVER A SHORTER AMOUNT OF TIME. In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found, or an average of nine such calls per hour. The number of incidents increased 96 % from 40,900 incidents reported in 2003. This increase is most likely due to the increased use of CO detectors, which alert people to the presence of CO.(Web Link) On top of this, the fact that gas piping is used to deliver gas means that when earthquakes occur, or poor maintenance of the pipes occur you can have a large explosion. For example San Bruno. Granted you can have an electric short occur that can cause a fire, but a circuit breaker tends to do a significant job and preventing that. Granted PG&E is now probably going to be going out of business for good soon. But you cannot say that GAS is a safe method of heating in homes either. From this website (Web Link) the following information should be considered: It costs to $3000-$7000 to install a gas furnace but they last half the operational time as an electric which costs $2000-$4000 to install. Thus in the best case to install a gas you would calculate 2 times $3000 versus $4000 for electric which is a cost advantage 25% of installation and maintenance for electric. The fact is also that we live in a significantly warm climate. The coolest average temperature is 45F in January and as high as 60F in the summer. If the housing insulation is good, you can expect reasonably low cost for heating the home. The highest possible cost would be heating water. Electric estimation is that annual cost is $445 from this calculator (Web Link) The gas annual cost would be $382. So lets do a true cost say we are looking at a 40 year investment here is the cost breakdown: Gas Heat: 2 installations at $3000 plus the annual cost of $400 per year given inflation would come to $22,000 Electric Heat: $4000 installation plus $465 per year with inflation would come to $22,600. The real cost difference is 600/22,000 which comes to 3% increase in cost. So before you try to say that GAS is the only economical means of building housing in Mountain View, perhaps you should do some more homework regarding the benefits of replacing GAS with electric. And look at no risk of CO poisoning and gas explosions. The cost reduction in CO detection may make up that cost.

I grew up in an all-electric house in a different state. Most parts of the city I grew up in had no natural gas hookups. When I go home to visit, I am annoyed by how long the clothes dryer takes. That's it! The rest isn't even noticeable. I think people here in Mountain View will adjust. Meanwhile, my parents think I am crazy for living in a house that could explode at any moment. PG&E's San Bruno pipeline explosion a few years back put the fear of my literal death into them.

@The Business Man Your links are mistaken. That electric furnace which you linked is resistive, which would have prohibitive energy costs here. We need to use heat pumps given our highest in the nation electric costs. It starts at about $8,000 to install one of those here. I spent $8000 on a natural gas furnace which is 96% efficient, which makes operational costs dirt cheap, and it will last a while. Heat pump furnaces last about half as long as gas ones. My furnace does not interact with interior air - it pulls air to burn fuel from outside, and vents outside too. CO risk is low, and I have CO detectors. You will have to pry my gas stove from my cold, dead hands, too, and they will be cold, since I'll have to use electric heating :)

What about non-commercial kitchens that prepare dishes that cannot be cooked using electric alternatives? What about kitchens of any kind that prepare dishes that can be cooked using electric alternatives, but gas is better for cooking those dishes?

@The Business Man. "Your links are mistaken." Seriously, Resident, you're just now realizing this. BM is the King of posting irrelevant links.

Well, congratulations to every member of the Mountain View City Council for decisively solving the Global Warming / Climate Change EMERGENCY! Well done. Now that you are done with the planetary problems, how about doing anything that would actually be useful for the citizens of Mountain View?

In response to Resident. If you want to use $8000 for installation, that is $2000 more than I used. Your efficiency rate does not take into account the btu conversion factor. So that ratio is not accurate. Finally you really simply do not want to use the actual science of physics to argue your point because you do not provide any resources to validate your claim. The people reading this page needs more than than that. Just on the fact that it will cost with your number in just one installation $24,000 to use gas versus $22,600 to use electric just adds to my point. And since when is using gas heat protected under the second amendment. In response to Groot, obviously you are are promoting the “fake” news argument. Anything that does not agree with your point of view must be “fake” or irrelevant and must be discredited. You are not the authority in this situation. The public simply has the right to make up its own mind. Of course, I might’ve having a discussion with a gas heating installer or investor, who is threatened with the idea that this will spread and become a standard regarding residential heating, which is a threat to your investment or business. But that does not mean that my resources are inaccurate or on topic, it only means it does pose as evidence in opposition to your situation.

And by the way, the link is to the federal department of energy management website. Why would this calculator be wrong when it must be validated scientifically before the government would publish it. And also given that the agency is headed by those that are promoting fossil fuel usage like gas and coal. To me you are just trying to distract from the real math. Pleas provide another calculator that will provide us with some comparisons

The vast majority (85%) of electricity in the USA is generated by burning fossil fuels. This ban will make some feel good but does nothing to address the problem.

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