New homes and apartment buildings built in Washington state must be equipped with electric heat pumps beginning in July. The state Building Code Council voted in favor of the requirement this week. The switch will reduce carbon emissions and reliance on nonrenewable heat sources. Natural gas is pollutive, contributing to health issues in gas-burning homes and creating greenhouse gases that accelerate global warming.
Electric heat pumps are efficient, and many units can both heat and cool living spaces. Washington state enjoys some of America’s cheapest electricity; Seattle rates are 29% below the national average. In addition to low monthly costs, electric heat pumps often require minimal maintenance. Electric heat is also safer than gas heat – gas furnaces in disrepair can produce lethal, odorless carbon monoxide.
“Electric heat is the way to go. Here in Washington state, we have a clean and reliable grid, and some of the cheapest power in the country,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “New housing units will benefit from safe, efficient heating and I’m sure tenants will enjoy low monthly bills.”