Court throws out Berkeley’s ban on natural gas


This is good news to me.

My husband’s 92 year old mother lives in Berkeley, CA.

PG&E is constantly having power outages. Last week, her power was out for three days. If she didn’t have a gas powered stove and gas powered heating she would have been very cold and unable to have warm food.


I didn’t know gas furnaces could work without electricity. Mine certainly doesn’t. Without the electric thermostat and blower, it is useless.

Hers is old. She’s been living there 50 years and it came with the place.

For now, the locals are safe from losing energy efficient (and delicious to boot) wok-cooked restaurant, takeout, and home cooking !


We had a 1930’s Spark stove with the little warmer cabinet on the side. Pilot light, no need for electricity. I LOVED that little workhorse! We had a gas water heater, again no need for electricity. Same with the old wall heater. During the many electrical outtages we had in the Bay Area we kept warm, fed and bathed. Miss that appliance simpler life; none of this mother/circuit board complications and frequent repairs. I think that in areas where your electrical grid frequently fails, a gas appliance makes sense. In the Rocky Mountain West, both electric and gas are popular and solar and alternatives are working their way in.


Gas wall furnaces are pretty ubiquitous in California, and oftentimes those thermostats are powered by a 9V battery. No blower needed.

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Interesting news. I suspect there will be the “back and forth” on this topic for years to come. Eventually, a future executive branch will ban gas.

Hopefully not… that would push people towards propan and portable setups, which from my understanding is less safe and less effective towards stated goals.

The Berkeley regulation concerned new construction only, which other than possibly ADUs on people’s personal lots, means apartment buildings. That is almost the only new construction in Berkeley. So the lamentations about people’s existing setups are misplaced, even notwithstanding the Appeals Court’s decision. (And as for wok hei, I can’t imagine a Chinese restaurant choosing new a new, electricity-only space over an existing property. As it is, locally most new restaurants open in places already set up for food service.)

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Can you explain to me how the furnace circulates heat throughout the home without a blower? I have a gas furnace (forced air heat) and the blower could never run on a 9v battery. But I am on the east coast. Is there some other way the heat is distributed to the rooms in California?

Gas wall furnace is the operative phrase here; when one is living in an apartment, condo or small California bungalow having either a double-sided wall furnace or a single-sided wall furnace with a rear vent can sufficiently heat a unit without any blowers, though they often can be installed as optional accessories.

Here are two examples you can find at pretty much any Home Depot:

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“New Construction” also refers to substantial renovations, and any gas appliance installation requires passing inspections. If the renovation or remodel is substantial, then replacement would be prohibited.

Additionally, over time, the Berkeley policy would effectively red-line Chinese, Thai and other wok-hei cuisines to older, more outdated building stock. Basically relegating those cuisines to the ghettos, which is pretty offensive in and of itself.

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