UTAH'S AIR QUALITY

New construction projects are focusing on electric power over gas

Oct 6, 2023, 6:57 PM | Updated: 6:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Switching from gas to electric cars could drastically clean up Salt Lake City’s air.

Now, electrification for buildings has become a hot topic in the construction world because it too has the ability to significantly reduce the pollution that we all dread during inversion season.

Sustainable Business Program Manager Peter Nelson stated, “Our building sector is an important contributor to emissions and energy demand. By electrifying our buildings, we have a significant opportunity to meet our climate goals.”

A recent report estimated that over three million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will come from new construction on residential buildings if developers continue to use gas instead of electricity over the next ten years.

Nelson added, “To build all-electric is actually at parity or, in some cases, more economical than in a conventional building scenario.”

Codes would have to change first to make it a requirement to use electricity. “We adopt building codes at the state level, so Salt Lake City doesn’t dictate how building codes are met,” Nelson explained.

The state of Utah prevents gas bans, but Salt Lake City requires that any new property owned, built, or invested in by the city must be all-electric.

Nelson emphasized, “There’s a lot of residential construction happening. When you build a building, it’s going to last for 30, 50, maybe even more years. So, if we can build it right now, that means we are eliminating 30 or 50 years’ worth of additional contributions to poor air quality.”

He says the next big challenge is empowering residents to switch over existing homes to all-electric, efficient technology.

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New construction projects are focusing on electric power over gas