California regulators propose rules to discourage gas in new homes

By Wes Venteicher | 03/29/2024 06:40 AM EDT

The move comes amid culture war fights over natural gas appliances in homes punctuated by a failed attempt by Berkeley to ban new gas hookups.

The gas burner of a stove in London.

The gas burner of a stove in London. Shaun Curry/AFP via Getty Images

SACRAMENTO, California — California regulators on Thursday proposed making it even harder to install gas appliances in new homes with a draft energy code update that promotes electric heat pumps.

The California Energy Commission’s proposal would set tougher energy efficiency standards that are most easily met by using heat pumps to regulate both air and water temperatures in most new homes, Commissioner Andrew McAllister told reporters.

The draft update comes amid a far-reaching fight over natural gas in buildings and homes. Last week, the city of Berkeley dropped its proposed ban on gas appliances in new homes in accordance with a court’s ruling that the ban violated federal law.


“We’re trying to unwind the combustion system so we can get the greenhouse gas reductions that we need and really rely on the electric system as the backbone of our decarbonization efforts,” McAllister said.