In a groundbreaking move, San Francisco has emerged as the largest American city to prohibit the use of natural gas in new constructions. Spearheaded by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, this legislation aims to address the city’s environmental concerns, targeting the significant contribution of natural gas to emissions. This blog explores the motivations behind the ban, its potential benefits, and the broader implications for the future of sustainable urban living.

A Leading Contributor to Emissions

Mandelman highlights that natural gas accounts for a staggering 44% of San Francisco’s overall emissions, with an even more alarming 80% attributed to building emissions. This realization underscores the urgent need to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. As the city grapples with the effects of climate change, reducing the reliance on natural gas becomes a pivotal step in mitigating environmental degradation.

Reducing Fire Risks Post-Earthquakes

Beyond environmental concerns, the ban on natural gas also addresses safety issues. By eliminating natural gas in new constructions, the city aims to minimize the risks of fires, particularly in the aftermath of earthquakes. Although the removal of existing natural gas infrastructure will take time, the focus is on new buildings designed to meet stringent energy codes. The integration of electric air-source heat pumps ensures a safer and more resilient infrastructure.

The Transition to Renewable Energy

San Francisco’s move away from natural gas aligns with broader efforts to transition to renewable energy sources. The city’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond emissions reduction, encompassing a vision for a future powered by renewable energy. This shift not only addresses immediate environmental concerns but also lays the groundwork for a more sustainable and eco-friendly energy landscape.

A Breath of Fresh Air

One of the most significant advantages of banning natural gas is the potential for a substantial improvement in indoor air quality. Studies reveal that gas stoves and appliances contribute to elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5 emissions during cooking, adversely impacting health. The move towards electric air-source heat pumps is envisioned to create healthier living environments. Improved indoor air quality translates to enhanced well-being, making homes and buildings more conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

The Health Concerns Surrounding Gas Stoves

Recent research has confirmed the detrimental effects of gas stoves on health. The Rocky Mountain Institute reports that homes with gas stoves exhibit significantly higher NO2 concentrations, ranging from 50% to over 400%, compared to homes with electric stoves. The implications for both short and long-term health are alarming, emphasizing the need for a shift towards electric alternatives. By prioritizing health and well-being, San Francisco’s ban on natural gas resonates with a broader movement towards creating living spaces that promote a high quality of life.

Theoretical Complaints and Real Concerns

Architect Mark Hogan suggests that most opposition to the ban is theoretical, given its impact on new constructions. However, the California Restaurant Association has expressed tangible concerns, negotiating an 18-month extension before new gas hookups are banned in restaurants. The debate revolves around the speed of cooking certain foods with gas and the potential limitations of electric alternatives. This intersection of theoretical and practical concerns highlights the complexities associated with transitioning away from natural gas.

Legal Battles and Industry Resistance

Berkeley’s experience with a similar law witnessed opposition from homebuilders, heating contractors, and even the barbecue association. Legal battles ensued, with industries expressing concerns about potential legal uncertainties. The evolving landscape, marked by solar power and a burgeoning battery storage revolution, necessitates a paradigm shift in the way homes and buildings are powered. San Francisco’s resolve to push through legal challenges underscores the commitment to a sustainable future, irrespective of industry resistance.

Education and Awareness

Addressing opposition requires not only legal fortitude but also a concerted effort to educate the public and industries about the long-term benefits of the ban. Initiatives to promote awareness regarding the health, safety, and environmental advantages of transitioning away from natural gas are essential. By fostering understanding and collaboration, San Francisco aims to build a foundation for widespread acceptance and implementation of similar measures in other cities.

A Changing Landscape

Nate the House Whisperer, aligned with the Electrify Everything movement, emphasizes the transformation in perceptions towards electric living. Advancements in technology, such as induction cooking, cold climate heat pumps, and electric cars like Tesla, have debunked the notion that electric options are inferior to those relying on fossil fuels. The evolving landscape of electric living challenges preconceived notions, presenting a future where electric alternatives are not just comparable but superior in various aspects.

The Growing All-Electric Movement

The Sierra Club highlights a growing trend, with 38 cities and counties in California committing to going gas-free. Moreover, over 50 additional jurisdictions are contemplating policies to support all-electric new constructions. The momentum behind this movement suggests that the transition to electric living is not merely a passing trend but a sustained commitment to a greener and more sustainable future. As cities across California join the all-electric movement, a network of support and shared experiences emerges, contributing to a collective effort to redefine the energy landscape.

Job Creation in Renewable Energy

While the shift away from natural gas may face opposition from certain industries, it also presents an opportunity for job creation in the renewable energy sector. The installation, maintenance, and development of electric infrastructure contribute to the green economy, fostering a workforce dedicated to sustainable practices. San Francisco’s commitment to embracing renewable energy aligns with a broader economic vision centered on environmental sustainability and job growth.

Resilience in the Face of Energy Challenges

The move towards an all-electric future positions cities to be more resilient in the face of energy challenges. Dependence on a diverse range of renewable energy sources, coupled with advancements in battery storage, reduces vulnerability to disruptions in the energy supply. San Francisco’s proactive approach to building resilience ensures a more stable and sustainable energy infrastructure for the future.


In conclusion, San Francisco’s ban on natural gas in new buildings signifies a monumental step towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious urban landscape. By addressing the environmental, safety, and health implications associated with natural gas, the city sets a precedent for others to follow. As California continues to lead the charge towards an all-electric future, the evolution in technology and changing perceptions pave the way for a cleaner and healthier way of living.