Seattle Bans Natural Gas in New Buildings

On February 1st, 2021, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s natural gas ban. Last December, Mayor Durkan sent City Council proposed legislation to update Seattle’s Commercial Energy Code.

The approved amendments ban natural gas for space heating in commercial and apartment buildings taller than three stories; prohibits the use of natural gas to heat water in new hotels and large apartment buildings; requires commercial and apartment buildings to wire for future electrification of appliances; and requires the use of more efficient electric heating and cooling systems, among other measures.

The natural gas ban is part of the City’s aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Without the approved code changes, Seattle officials estimate that building emissions would have been 12% higher by 2050.

Implementation of the space and water heating measures will take effect in January 2022, while the rest of the code will go into effect on March 15, 2021. Developers should familiarize themselves with the new requirements and watch for future energy code amendments regarding single-family dwellings.

Beveridge & Diamond's Real Estate Development and Renewable Energy groups enable successful and sustainable projects by helping clients track and navigate environmental regulatory and transactional hurdles. With an office in Seattle, we are closely tracking these developments and well-positioned to help developers and energy companies meet the evolving requirements. For more information, please contact the authors.