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California’s largest affordable housing program adopts all-electric requirement for new projects

California’s largest affordable housing program adopts all-electric requirement for new projects
For Immediate Release
December 15, 2022
Contact: Robin Tung, Building Decarbonization Coalition

Sacramento, Calif. – The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program approved its first-ever guidelines today for projects to be all-electric with no connections to gas infrastructure starting in 2023. The adoption of the all-electric design requirement by California’s largest affordable housing program supports the state’s decarbonization goals and sends a strong market signal that California is on the path to an all-electric future.

“We applaud AHSC for its leadership to build safe, healthy, and climate-ready homes for low-income Californians,” stated Jose Torres, California Director at the Building Decarbonization Coalition. “This will provide vulnerable households access to clean cooling during extreme heat as well as electric stoves, which don’t emit toxic nitrogen oxides. AHSC serves as a model for other housing programs in California and beyond.”

AHSC’s approval to fund all-electric projects aligns with California’s actions and investments for building decarbonization this year. The California Public Utilities Commission voted to end subsidies connecting new buildings to the gas system beginning in July 2023. The California Air Resources Board committed to a statewide zero-emission appliance standard for homes and buildings that will rapidly increase the sale of heat pumps by 2030. And the California Legislature is investing over $1.4 billion in programs aimed at equitably decarbonizing and expanding cooling for the state’s homes and buildings, with at least fifty percent of the funding directed toward disadvantaged communities. AHSC’s all-electric design threshold will also support the state in meeting Governor Newsom’s targets for 3 million climate-ready homes and the deployment of 6 million heat pumps by 2030, and 7 million climate-ready homes by 2035.

AHSC’s new requirement is a first step towards electrifying the state’s affordable housing. The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, and California Department of Housing and Community Development don’t currently have all-electric requirements for new construction and must stop funding construction that connects affordable housing to gas infrastructure. By aligning funding for all-electric construction across the state, California can meet its climate, equity, public health, and housing affordability goals. The funding and programs should also ensure the creation of new high-road jobs.

The BDC joined environmental advocates in submitting a support letter in October for AHSC’s all-electric threshold for construction and the prioritization and protection of low-income and environmental justice communities. The notice of funding availability is set to be released in January 2023 with approximately $750 million available for all-electric projects.