SANTA MONICA—On Monday, February 27, the city of Santa Monica published the Existing Building Electrification Roadmap, which identifies strategies to decrease carbon emissions and improve indoor air quality in existing buildings.

The city of Santa Monica indicated in a press release that the city’s recently-adopted Zero Emission Building Code, which went into effect for new construction at the start of 2023 and requires all new buildings to be fully electric.

Buildings account for over 30 percent of Santa Monica’s carbon emissions, primarily from burning natural gas for space and water heating. The Existing Building Electrification Roadmap outlines a holistic approach to equitably electrifying Santa Monica’s existing buildings, which are less efficient than newer buildings and account for the majority of building emissions.

Santa Monica worked with stakeholders including Santa Monica Black Lives Association and Climate Action Santa Monica to categorize equity priorities and goals. The city joined in the California Equitable Home Electrification Program with the Rocky Mountain Institute to help guide this work. With the release of the Roadmap, Santa Monica joins a small but growing list of cities developing strategies to improve building performance and electrify their existing buildings.

“Addressing the existential threat of climate change is a priority for our community,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Shannon Parry. “We now require that all new buildings be fully electric. While this will drastically reduce emissions from new buildings, most emissions from the building sector come from existing buildings. Now our emphasis is on replacing natural gas appliances with electric options such as heat pump systems for water and space heating. This movement away from burning gas will significantly lower the carbon footprint of existing buildings and improve indoor air quality.”

Santa Monica’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP) calls for a 20 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings by 2030. The Existing Building Electrification Roadmap builds on the CAAP goal by putting forth new goals including:

-Implement a Building Performance Standards policy by 2025

-Limit the installation of new fossil fuel appliances by 2030

-Transition all buildings within City-limits to all-electric by 2045

To learn more about building electrification, swapping gas appliances for electric options, electricity cost impacts, what to ask your contractor, and incentives to help fund these projects, the Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment is hosting a free virtual Guide to Electrification and Santa Monica’s Zero Emission Building Code workshop on Thursday, March 2, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

For details about electrification, visit the Green Building in Santa Monica webpage that has resources on green building rebates and incentives, including the Electrify Santa Monica rebate program.