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Washington State Halts July 1st Ban on Natural Gas in New Construction

May 30, 2023
Authors: Aaron Kirk Douglas
Publishers: HFO Multifamily Marketwatch

In a significant development affecting the multifamily housing industry, the Washington State Building Code Council has delayed implementing new codes banning natural gas use in apartments and other commercial buildings. Initially, the Council passed rules prohibiting traditional HVAC systems and natural gas in new residential and commercial construction, opting for heat pumps for space and water heating. However, after the 9th Circuit Court ruled in California Restaurant Association vs. the City of Berkley that federal law preempts state and local restrictions on natural gas use, the regulations banning natural gas have been delayed from July 1 to November 1. Meanwhile, a coalition of gas utilities, a propane trade group, and several homebuilder and labor associations have filed a lawsuit in Washington State seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of the codes’ restrictions against natural gas in new buildings.

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