San Francisco’s elected board of supervisors on Tuesday agreed to ban the use of natural gas in new buildings beginning in 2021.

California seal

The supervisors had imposed a gas ban earlier this year in new and remodeled municipal buildings, following the lead of a growing list of cities in California. At least 15 other cities in the state were considering similar bans earlier this year.

The supervisors said natural gas was the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the city and San Francisco County, and the emissions are adversely affecting public health.

The ordinance was prefaced with the contention that it’s a major step by the local government to protect the global environment and lower health and safety risks. It said “natural gas infrastructure may rupture, fail and/or explode due to earthquake-induced structural failure.” 

In July, the region’s largest gas provider, San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co., said it was in support of a gas ban in new buildings if it could be done in a cost effective way to reduce emissions.

At the time, the California Energy Commission, which already has ratified gas-free codes in some entities, was considering whether to revise a Title 24 standard to mandate all-electric requirements in new buildings.

Meanwhile, Southern California Gas Co. has said it opposes the moves to electrification in new construction, calling them short-sighted and contending consumers want the choice to use gas appliances. Elsewhere, Massachusetts earlier this year joined a list of states working to ban gas in new infrastructure. And in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio also wants to ban all fossil fuels use, including gas, in the city’s “large building systems” by 2040. Government buildings would be the first to undergo the proposed overhaul.