LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nithya Raman announced plans Wednesday 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% 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% 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 was introduced with Councilman Mitch O'Farrell during Wednesday's City Council meeting, asks 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, who co-introduced the motion, voiced her support Wednesday, 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.
Raman's motion, which will have to be approved by the full City Council, was co-introduced with Martinez and Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Paul Koretz and Mitch O'Farrell.
"Building energy decarbonization is an important component of our 'LA100' plan, which is transitioning Los Angeles away from dirty energy and will achieve 100% carbon-free energy in the City by 2035. A carbon-free future, rooted in equity and sustainability, is what Angelenos want, what our planet needs and what we are moving toward with relentless focus and a sense of urgency," said O'Farrell, who also chairs the City Council's Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice and River Committee.