Phasing out gas: Shoreline takes steps towards clean buildings
August 19, 2021

Washington communities are flexing their climate leadership, expanding access to clean, safe, all-electric buildings. This past Monday, Shoreline residents spoke powerfully at a City Council meeting, urging the city to phase out the use of fossil gas, citing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and safety. 

At the end of the meeting, Councilmembers directed staff to develop an ordinance that would prohibit the use of fossil fuels for space and water heating in new commercial and large multifamily buildings (defined as over four stories). So far, local governments have focused on new commercial and large multifamily buildings because those restrictions can be imposed through the commercial energy code, where cities and counties have the clearest legal authority to act.

By taking this bold step, Shoreline will follow in the footsteps of Seattle, where a similar policy was passed in February 2021. King County and Bellingham are also working on similar policies, while other entities like Tacoma and Seattle Public Schools have also made commitments to phasing out gas in buildings. 

This effort is far from over in Shoreline: once city staff develop the ordinance, it will need to go back to Shoreline City Council for a vote. And we know that the gas industry and its allies will be fighting back – we saw gas industry allies spreading misinformation about heat pumps even at this week’s meeting. If you live or work in Shoreline, you can help let the city know that you support all-electric buildings by sending a thank you email to councilmembers here.

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Author Bio

Deepa Sivarajan

Washington Policy Manager, Climate Solutions

Deepa works to advance policies that will facilitate an equitable and just shift to clean energy in Washington. She is passionate about ensuring that environmental justice communities are represented in local and state policy development and implementation. Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Deepa served as a project manager at the public engagement and communications firm EnviroIssues, where she worked with local government agencies to involve communities in planning processes for transportation and urban planning projects. Deepa also has a background in environmental and electoral organizing, including advocating for wilderness protection with the Sierra Club.

Deepa holds an M.A. in Climate & Society from Columbia University, where she focused on climate policy and law, as well as a B.A. in Government and Women’s & Gender Studies from Georgetown University. Deepa serves on the Seattle Green New Deal Oversight Board and the Seattle Parks District Oversight Committee. She also volunteers with South Asians Building Accountability & Healing (SABAH), the Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans, and the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. Deepa was born and raised in Seattle, where in her free time she enjoys reading and writing speculative fiction, cuddling her parents’ dog, and drinking way too much tea.