Ordinance 7398, adopted in August 2022, requires certain categories of newly-constructed buildings to be all-electric, thus prohibiting gas infrastructure. The electrification requirement applies primarily to new construction and certain commercial additions. Existing buildings undergoing alterations or tenant improvements are exempt. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the ordinance:
‘Electrification’ of buildings, also known as ‘all-electric construction’, refers to the substitution of gas infrastructure with electricity in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce indoor air pollution. This means that all-electric buildings have no gas infrastructure. Conventional gas-powered appliances, such as water heaters, cooktops, furnaces, clothes dryers, etc., are therefore replaced by energy-efficient electric appliances.
Consistent with the City’s Climate Action Plan where Pasadena will achieve reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the City, building electrification will greatly contribute to GHG reduction by reducing use of fossil-fuels in buildings. Further, buildings not utilizing fossil-fuels for cooking, appliance and equipment use are proved to be more healthful for occupants and contributes to less respiratory issues.
The ordinance requires the following categories of buildings to be all-electric:
- Newly-constructed multi-family buildings greater than 3 units.
- Newly-constructed mixed-use buildings.
- Newly-constructed commercial buildings.
- Existing commercial buildings with new additions where the addition adds fifty-percent (50%) or more of the existing square foot area. In such cases, the entire building must convert to complete electrification.
The ordinance went into effect on August 11, 2022.
Existing buildings undergoing alterations or tenant improvements will be exempt. Other exemptions are:
- Single-family homes, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs), which will be exempt through July 2023.
- Food service establishments and commercial kitchens are exempt; however, equipment and appliances that can utilize electric energy are encouraged to be utilized to the highest extent possible.
- Essential buildings, medical-health care facilities, research and development laboratories, equipment for emergency use and other special occupancies with fossil-fuel equipment directly related to the operations are necessary and where electric alternatives could jeopardize operations, occupant safety or patient care.
- Where the cost of electric utility infrastructure and supply upgrades exceed the cost of the entire project. The entire project cost shall be based on the cost of an electrified building (without natural gas).
- For certain and specific equipment where electrical operating costs would exceed natural gas or fossil-fuel operating costs by more than 1,000% per annum.
- Buildings that utilize non-fossil fuels for non-fossil fuel approved equipment. Non-fossil fuel types, and equipment are subject to approval by the Building Official and Fire Chief.
No. Projects that are already in building plan check, or projects that submit a complete building permit application and are accepted by the City prior to the effective date of the Ordinance do not need to comply with electrification requirements.
No. Buildings for which a valid building permit has been issued are not subject to compliance with the ordinance.
Possibly. If an application for a project for entitlement has not been deemed complete prior to the effective date of the ordinance, building electrification shall be required. If it has been deemed complete, it is not subject to the requirement.
No. A project that has received approval for a required land use entitlement prior to the effective date of the ordinance is exempt from the all-electric design requirements so long as the necessary permits are obtained in compliance with the timelines set in the entitlement.
No. Commercial tenant improvements within an existing building are exempt from the all-electric design requirements. Food service establishments and commercial kitchens within newly-constructed commercial buildings are also exempt; however, equipment and appliances that can utilize electric energy are encouraged to be utilized to the highest extent possible.
Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) has several offerings to help alleviate the cost of electrifying new and existing buildings. Qualifying all-electric appliances/equipment purchased and installed directly by PWP residents and small businesses may also be eligible for rebates; including several Energy Star rated products. In addition, PWP also has rebate incentives to assist qualifying builders/developers who plan to construct new, all-electric and affordable multifamily properties for income-qualified customers. For more information, visit: https://www.cityofpasadena.net/water-and-power/savemoney/