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Gas Ban in New Construction Considered by Chicago

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Gas Ban in New Construction Considered by Chicago

The mayor-backed ordinance would impact all new construction

By Caroline Broderick January 25, 2024
gas ban chicago
Photo: stock.adobe.com

Chicago is the latest city to consider banning natural gas in new construction, coming on a year since New York state moved forward with its gas ban in February 2023. The ruling would affect not only new construction, but also large additions, and major renovations. 

If approved, Chicago will join Berkeley, Calif., San Jose, and San Francisco in major cities banning fossil fuels and dozens of smaller cities across the country. In total, 140 jurisdictions have put forth decarbonization efforts of some kind, and in some states, laws have been passed to prohibit the limitation of energy sources. 

The proposal was set to be introduced Jan. 24 at the Chicago City Council meeting, but Aldermen delayed the ordinance until reviewed by the Council’s Rule committee.

Chicago’s Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance comes from the 2021 recommendations report from the city’s Building Decarbonization Policy Working Group, a summary and plan written by 53 experts, civic leaders, and community stakeholders.

 The Working Group’s recommendations include a suggestion to phase fossil fuels out, similar to Denver’s approach to phase anti-fossil fuel ordinances over six years.

“The City of Chicago should pursue adoption of new buildings codes that eliminate fossil gas and other fossil fuel consumption while significantly reducing energy consumption and supporting the development of high performing buildings,” wrote the Working Group. “It is recommended that this apply to all buildings types, and that it is thoughtfully phased in to consider the range of challenges for owners of building sizes and types, and to be further defined in the policy development process.”

The Group says that the shift away from fossil fuels will benefit workforce development and children’s health, citing a report by the Rocky Mountain Institute, Sierra Club, Mothers Out Front, and Physicians for Social Responsibility that found children in homes with gas stoves have a 24-42% increased risk of having asthma. The ordinance stated children in Chicago were found to have higher rates of asthma than homes statewide.

The proposal faces opposition from unions, such as the Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers and the UWUA Local 18007 Gas Workers Union. Additionally, some Aldermen oppose the ordinance, saying additional time is needed to examine the effects of the ordinance.

written by

Caroline Broderick

Caroline Broderick is the Managing Editor for Pro Remodeler. Most recently, she served as the associate editor for PR's sister publications, Pro Builder, Custom Builder, and PRODUCTS where she covered design, building products, trends, and more in the residential construction industry. She can be reached at cbroderick@sgcmail.com.

Comments (1)

  • Submitted by Emerson J. Cla… (not verified) on Mon, 01/29/2024 - 14:13


    So far as I have seen, most gas bans are not fully thought out or implemented.

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