Clean Energy House

Natural Gas Prohibition for New Buildings

Authored on
August 2, 2021

The City of Santa Barbara's Sustainability & Resilience Department adopted an ordinance that prohibits the installation of natural gas infrastructure in new buildings as an important step toward achieving its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. Starting this fall, the electricity supply in Santa Barbara will largely be carbon-free with the launch of Santa Barbara Clean Energy opening up a pathway to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, emissions associated with building energy use by transitioning away from natural gas.

This Ordinance applies to projects for which a building permit application is submitted after January 1, 2022 and only applies to newly constructed buildings. New buildings are defined as a project that meet two or more of the following criteria:

  1. More than 75% of the structural elements of the roof or roof framing are removed;
  2. More than 75% of the structural exterior walls (or vertical supports such as posts or columns when a structure has no walls) of a structure are removed or are no longer a necessary and integral structural component of the overall building;
  3. More than 75% of the foundation system is removed, or is no longer a necessary and integral structural component of the overall structure, including, but not limited to: perimeter concrete foundation, retaining walls, post and pier foundations, or similar elements that connect a structure to the ground and transfer gravity loads from the structure to the ground.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) that are completely new buildings must be all-electric. ADUs that are being added on to an existing building and do not meet two or more of the criteria listed above are not considered new buildings and thus do not fall under this ordinance. Additionally, certain exemptions are allowed for the following: restaurants, clean rooms, laboratories, and projects where electrification is not feasible or it is in the public interest to allow natural gas infrastructure.

The Natural Gas Prohibition Ordinance goes into effect for applications submitted after December 31, 2021; however, The City’s building permit portal, ACA, will be closed for business from December 22nd through December 31S. Building permit application will only be accepted up to 4:30pm December 22d,

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact: Kristian Hoffland, Energy & Climate Analyst Phone: (805)564-5595 Email: or visit the Sustainability Climate Actions page.