The natural gas debate is nothing new to Evanston


The natural gas debate has been raging in Evanston for decades, and a recent study into the effects of gas stoves has spurred calls for Chicago to join other major cities and ban them in new construction projects. I hung

The city passed its first climate action plan in 2008, with natural gas accounting for 25% of the city’s carbon footprint. The city council is currently working on his third iteration of the Climate Action and Resilience Plan, which was passed in 2018, but has yet to ban gas connections or fixtures in new structures. The overall goal is for the city to be carbon-free by his 2050.

“What we are talking about is a ban on natural gas connections in all new construction,” said Jonathan Newzma, a city council member and member of the Environment Committee. “That includes stoves, but it also includes furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters.”

Discussions about the ban began last October when Evanston’s sustainability and resilience coordinator Cara Pratt provided an update on what could be done in the new year to advance the city’s climate goals. I was.

New construction in Evanston often focuses on environmental sustainability and all-electric buildings, but the city wants to codify that into law. City buildings are moving away from natural gas, including proposed animal shelters.

If passed, the ordinance would prohibit the use of natural gas by private construction. Some developers have already moved away from natural gas, such as those working on affordable housing.

The biggest challenge is converting existing homes from natural gas to all-electric, which can be prohibitively expensive. Mr Nieuwsma said authorities are proceeding cautiously because they do not want to put low-income residents in an impossible situation.

“We are fully aware of the potential cost implications of requiring existing buildings to switch from natural gas,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough debate and we’re going to have to find ways to help raise money.”

The city is on track to reach its 2050 goals, but Nieuwsma said the work so far has been fairly easy and financially painless. Electric vehicle infrastructure can have a significant impact, as much of a city’s carbon footprint comes from residential gas-powered vehicle transportation.

The biggest advances have been achieved through municipal power consolidation, where the city brings together small residential and commercial power bills to get cleaner energy source proposals. The city’s emissions have fallen by more than 38% since 2005, and the January 23 city council agenda includes approval for him to purchase six electric vehicles for the city. .

“At the same time or before we ask Evanston residents and Evanston businesses to take additional measures, we hope that we (the city) will continue to take a leadership role and take a walk. ” said Newzma.

He suggests that residents looking to retrofit and reduce their carbon footprint consider purchasing all electric options.

“To address climate change, this is what we need to do here locally, and honestly, this is what we need to do statewide, and it’s what we need to do nationally. It’s something we need to do all over the world,” said Nieuwsma. “What we have now is not a canned reaction to a national debate prevalent on Twitter.”


What do you think?

Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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