Policy Update

Washington, D.C. Passes Ban on Most Natural Gas Use in New Buildings

July 27, 2022

Region

Northeast

NCEL Point of Contact

Clara Summers
Climate and Energy Manager

Contact

The Washington, D.C Council unanimously passed legislation in July to ban most natural gas use in new buildings, tightening restrictions on the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Bill 24-420 also outlines a net-zero construction requirement for all new buildings and substantial renovations in the city by 2026.

Building emissions — which come from the electricity and natural gas used for functions like heating, air conditioning, and cooking — account for nearly 75% of D.C.’s total emissions.

Key Components of the Bill

  • Instructs the mayor to create the new net-zero building codes no later than December 31, 2026.
  • Prevents buildings from using “on-site fuel combustion” for furnaces or water heaters.
  • Requires audits every three years, starting in 2029, to report the percentage of new buildings that are complying with the net-zero requirements.

The net-zero building codes will cover all commercial buildings, condo and apartment buildings, and single-family homes taller than three stories. Net-zero buildings keep energy demand low while producing clean energy through strong insulation, efficient heating and cooling systems, and renewable technology such as solar panels. Learn more about green buildings here

Bill 24-420 complements D.C.’s Climate Commitment Act, which commits to making the city carbon neutral by 2045 and requires the city to stop installing natural-gas-powered furnaces and water heaters by 2025.