Los Angeles Looks to Make All New Buildings Zero-Emission

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
February 9, 2022Updated: February 9, 2022

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nithya Raman announced plans Feb. 9 for a proposed ordinance that would require all new construction buildings in Los Angeles to be zero-carbon.

Buildings in Los Angeles account for 43 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other sector, she said. Under her proposal, new zero-emission construction would not include gas lines, with heating systems and other appliances operated by electricity. Appliances in the buildings would also have to be energy efficient.

Once Los Angeles transitions to 100 percent renewable energy—which the city aims to achieve by 2035—the buildings would operate on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s carbon-neutral grid.

“This is such a critical moment for us to be engaging in this work. We are seeing rising temperatures, the risks of more dangerous wildfires, more serve droughts, more deaths from heat exposure, we’re seeing a worsening air quality threaten our residents’ health,” Raman said.

“We know that we need to take bold and immediate action to save our planet from the worst effects of climate change, and yet, sometimes it feels like the biggest steps are hard for us to start.”

The legislation, which will be introduced during Wednesday’s City Council meeting, would ask city departments to provide a report that outlines an ordinance and regulatory framework that would be in effect by Jan. 1, 2023, at the latest.

“We can see over the horizon at this moment what’s going to happen to Los Angeles and California, to this country and to this world, if we don’t stretch beyond what we think our reach is,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday at a news conference announcing the proposal.

Council President Nury Martinez also voiced her support for Raman’s motion, saying, “decarbonization for new construction buildings is an important step forward.” She added that older buildings—with mold, poor insulation, and gas appliances—also need to be improved.

“These old and often rundown houses, the indoor pollution is often so much worse than what you’re breathing in when you walk out that door. These are the neighborhoods that I live in and the neighborhoods that I represent,” she said.

The motion, which will have to be approved by the full City Council, also has the support of Councilmen Paul Koretz, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Mitch O’Farrell.