(Reuters) – California energy regulators on Wednesday approved energy efficiency standards to expand the use of space and water heating equipment in new homes and businesses, to heat fossils and cool buildings.
The California Energy Commission said the revised building code would support global warming by cutting greenhouse gases and reducing 2.2 million cars a year over the next 30 years.
California has been at the forefront of efforts to address the effects of natural gas and fossil fuels on climate change. Over the past two years, more than two dozen Golden State cities have taken steps to reduce the use of natural gas in buildings.
The state update will completely eliminate the ban on natural gas in the new construction proposed by local groups. However, it includes requirements for the installation of solar and energy storage systems in most new commercial buildings;
Homes and businesses in California, which amend the building code every three years, account for one-fourth of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. If approved by the Regional Construction Standards Commission in December, the new code will take effect in January 2023.
Heating pumps, alternatives to gas, water, and space heating, currently use less than 6% of the new home in California. The new building code builds heat pumps as a basic technology when designers design homes to meet state efficiency and requirements.
Houses can still be built with gas heating systems, but in those cases, builders must be able to make a profit in rooms such as other windows or walls.
“This code is really going to destroy the market for heat pumps,” he said in an online press release.