Healthy Homes, Healthy Buildings


The City of Seattle has a long history of recognizing the threat posed by climate change and committing to efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that cause the atmosphere to trap heat from the Earth, resulting in global warming. As early as 1992, the Seattle City Council adopted a Resolution 28546 to recognize the crisis of global warming. Since then, the City has taken multiple steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Seattle is not on currently track to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The 2016 Seattle Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory found that emissions from the direct combustion of natural gas in residential and commercial buildings accounted for over 71% of citywide building greenhouse gas emissions and 25% of Seattle’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This inventory found that the City is not on track in per-year carbon emission reduction to meet the City’s 2030 emissions reduction goals.

Natural gas accounts for 25% of Seattle's total greenhouse gas emissions.

On August 12, 2019, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a Green New Deal for Seattle, which seeks to ensure that the City is climate-pollution-free by 2030. The resolution identified a number of actions needed to meet this goal, including supporting the transition from the use of natural gas and oil to electricity in buildings.

In order to combat climate change and curb the use of fossil fuels, Councilmember O’Brien is committed to prohibiting the use of natural gas in new buildings. The Healthy Homes Healthy Buildings policy has been developed by Councilmember O’Brien’s office in partnership with community and environmental justice stakeholders to ensure that the City takes a first, but important step, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.


View the Legislation

What the Policy Does

  • Prohibits the installation of natural gas piping systems in new residential and commercial buildings, effective July 1, 2020;
  • Authorizes the Director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to exempt natural gas piping systems necessary to install certain natural gas-powered equipment and appliances, such as commercial cooking appliances, on an annual basis where suitable alternative electric appliances are unavailable.
  • Directs the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to recommend changes to the technical codes and Seattle Municipal Code by July 1, 2020, to limit the installation or expansion of natural gas piping systems in: additions to existing buildings; substantial renovations where the existing mechanical systems are proposed to be removed and replaced; and extensions to existing natural gas piping systems in existing buildings.


Date Action
Friday, September 6th Draft legislation discussed in Sustainability & Transportation Committee
Tuesday, September 10th Briefing and discussion of legislation in Sustainability & Transportation Committee
Tuesday, September 17th Briefing, discussion and possible vote of legislation in Sustainability & Transportation Committee
TBD Proposed Full Council vote on legislation

Opportunity for Comment

Written comments may be submitted at any time until the final Council vote on the legislation. However, the Council prefers to receive written comments by 12:00 p.m. on September 20 to allow for review by the Council during its consideration of the proposal. Please send comments to Lavanya Madhusudan in Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s office at:; to all councilmembers at; or by mail to:

Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Seattle City Council
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2
PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124-4025


Natural gas poses threats to the environment, the health and safety of Seattle’s residents, and the resiliency of the City during natural disasters. See the resources below for more information:

Impacts of natural gas stoves on respiratory health, especially for children:

The majority of natural gas in the United States, and the Pacific Northwest, is fracked:

We have 10 years to act to stop climate change from being catastrophic:

Fracking is harmful to the environment:

Fracking harms the rural and native communities that live near fracking sites:

Natural gas explosions occur regularly, and pose an ongoing health and safety risk:

Natural gas is not clean, leaks in transport and is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2:

Electric heat pumps can more efficiently and cost-effectively heat and cool your home:

Cooking with induction cooktops is more efficient, faster and safer than cooking with gas:

Electricity from Seattle City Light is 100% carbon neutral with more than 90% generated from clean, hydroelectric power: