BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — A commonplace kitchen appliance that chef’s swear by might be phased out in some buildings in Berkeley.
The city is considering a ban on natural gas in residential buildings. That means the gas-flame stove top and gas-powered heat many Californian’s currently have won’t be available in brand new residential spaces.
“First, it will be single family homes and buildings under three stories that are just residential. That will happen on January 1st,” City Council member Kate Harrison said.
Harrison is one of four council members sponsoring the ordinance, so it will only need one more vote to pass when it’s read at Tuesday’s council meeting. She points out that this ordinance runs parallel to the state’s plan to reduce carbon use in buildings.
“State law says in 2030, 50 percent of building stock should be all electric so we’ll have to adjust sooner or later, so we’re helping people get ready early,” Harrison said.
According to the EPA residential and commercial greenhouse gas emissions account for nearly 12 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions nationwide. In Berkeley they account for 27 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions citywide.
“I’d prefer to keep the gas stove top,” Chef Jesus Munoc of Free House Restaurant in Berkeley said.
In his restaurant, cooking with gas is more than just a turn of phrase.
“The gas is better, it’s faster for the restaurant. Most restaurants use this traditional type of stuff because electric is slow for cooking,” Munoc said.
The ordinance does not impact existing buildings, so Munoc won’t be impacted if this ordinance passes. But as California moves toward more carbon neutral options, more chefs might have to adjust.
Harrison points out that one well-known chef is already on board.
“Wolfgang Puck supports all electric kitchens. It’s safer, its cooler for the chefs, there’s less chance of injury and I think after time people will get used to it,” Harrison said.