Electrification Resources

With a growing number of climate emergencies around the world, it is imperative to reduce our utilization of fossil fuels by decarbonizing the building stock. Electrification is a critical step and pathway to mitigating the impacts of climate change and making buildings healthier, and more affordable places to live and work. These resources provide insights into the benefits of electrifying buildings and the grid, including future proofing, resiliency, cost savings, improved health, comfort and productivity, and safety.

Ready-to-implement electrification approaches and how they work to save money and carbon emissions.
Resources to ensure every community gets access to healthier buildings on the same timeline.
Talking points, policies, and frameworks to achieve carbon neutrality.

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Much of the hot water in multifamily buildings is provided by natural gas and other fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs). Utilities and policymakers are increasingly looking to technologies such as electric heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) to help cut these emissions, while providing other benefits such as grid flexibility. This study from New Buildings Institute was developed to help stakeholders understand the economics and potential benefits of having fossil fuel water heaters in multifamily buildings retrofit with HPWHs, as well as the types of program and policy interventions that could be used to transform the market.

A Zero Emissions All-Electric Single-family Construction Guide

Energy affordability is a critical issue for many American households – utility bills are the number one use of payday loans in the U.S. All-electric homes offer lower construction costs and carbon emissions, higher efficiency, and the lowest utility bills, especially when combined with PV panels. This guide from Redwood Energy shows case studies, benefits, and the importance of the all-electric home.

Building Decarbonization Code

The Building Decarbonization Code is a groundbreaking tool aiming to deliver carbon neutral performance. The Version 1.2 code language from NBI serves as a building decarbonization overlay to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and is now compatible with ASHRAE 90.1. It is designed to help states and cities working to mitigate carbon resulting from energy use in the built environment, which accounts for 39% of U.S. emissions. It also offers market insight into rules that will determine how new buildings are designed and constructed in the future in order to curb the worst impacts of climate change.

Designing for Zero Carbon, Volume 1

The core strategy of building decarbonization is to reduce energy demand, increase flexibility of remaining demand, and then supply energy with carbon free resources. Electric heat pumps are a foundational technology to this approach as they can triple the efficiency of conventional technologies. Peruse this case study guide of all-electric buildings to learn more.

Health Professionals Can Play a Role in Electrification

Health professionals are trusted and effective messengers to join the discussion about the negative health outcomes from exposure to harmful air pollutants. This guide from RMI provides three scalable recommendations for health professionals to engage in electrification efforts.

Gas Appliance Pollution Inequitably Impacts Health

Air pollution is the leading environmental risk factor for early death, and burning fossil fuels is responsible for one in five deaths worldwide. Seventy million US homes and businesses burn fossil fuels like gas for cooking, water heating, and space heating and cooling. This factsheet from RMI identifies the groups at highest risk for exposure to gas appliance pollution.

Recognizing Energy Inequities for Building Decarbonization

The costs and benefits of our energy are disproportionately allocated in ways that cause harm to historically marginalized communities. Recognizing that racism and classism are the root sources of most current energy inequities is an essential first step towards addressing these inequities as we decarbonize our buildings. This StoryMap from NEEP presents resources, ideas, and examples of energy equity issues and interventions from across the region and beyond to help inform equitable building decarbonization decisions.

Near-Term Strategies for Centering Equity in Building Decarbonization

Building decarbonization is necessary to combat the climate crisis. However, unless policymakers prioritize equity, this movement threatens to further harm those most impacted by climate change. As we move to decarbonize the buildings sector, energy policy and program decision makers must account for environmental, social, and health costs and benefits while centering solutions that address this historical inequity. This brief from NEEP outlines a foundational understanding of energy equity and provides a set of practices for decision makers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region to better collaborate with and defer to marginalized communities, measure those efforts, and center equity as a cornerstone of our future energy paradigm.

Equitable Beneficial Electrification for Rural Cooperatives

This report from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute focuses on equitable beneficial electrification as a pathway for rural electric cooperatives to decarbonize their power grid. Particularly, this report examines how Midwest rural co-ops incentivize members to switch from fossil fuel–powered end-use equipment to electric end-use equipment. About 5 million homes in the rural Midwest—mostly served by co-ops—power their space-heating and water-heating equipment predominately with propane.

Gas Stoves: Health and Air Quality Impacts and Solutions

Across the United States, millions of homes and apartments rely on gas appliances for heating and cooking. Gas stoves, particularly when unvented, can be a primary source of indoor air pollution. What’s more, a robust body of scientific research shows the pollutants released by gas stoves can have negative health effects, often exacerbating respiratory conditions like asthma. Despite this growing body of evidence, indoor air pollution remains largely unregulated. In this report, RMI synthesizes the last two decades of research and offer recommendations for policymakers, researchers, health care professionals, and the public to work to swiftly to mitigate the health risks associated with gas stoves.

Electrify Everything! A Practical Guide to Ditching Your Gas Meter

The quickest way to decarbonize is to electrify. This article presents a series of frameworks to dispel myths about electrification and make the concept of electrification exciting and accessible. Including other components such as cost data and policy and market barriers, the article offers comprehensive talking points to ensure an easy and informed transition to zero carbon.

Equitable Building Electrification

While building electrification has promising benefits for residents and for the state, it must be pursued equitably—ensuring that environmental and social justice communities can benefit, rather than being left with polluting and increasingly expensive gas appliances. It will require intentional policymaking and a planned transition for environmental and social justice communities to gain access to the major benefits of electrification, including cleaner air, healthier homes, good jobs and empowered workers, and greater access to affordable clean energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly energy bills. This Equitable Building Electrification Framework from Greenlining explains the steps the state must take to ensure that electrification helps close the clean energy gap in California and provides relief to millions of residents facing energy insecurity in the current system.

Electrification of Buildings and Industry in the United States

Grid-connected electrification of energy end uses in U.S. buildings and industry is expected to continue to increase gradually under existing policies. This report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reviews the possible benefits and barriers to greater electrification in these market sectors, the technical and economic potential for electrification, and policy and programmatic approaches for regions that want to encourage a more rapid transition to beneficial electrification. We do not evaluate the case for electrification directly. Rather, we illustrate the benefits of electrifying, discuss some of the drawbacks, and review policies, programs, and regulations that may promote or hinder electrification.

The Building Electrification Equity Project

The Building Electrification Equity (The BEE) Project was a 6-month organizing and planning process to engage and inform the environmental and climate justice community on the building electrification movement, and to ensure equity issues and strategies are incorporated in state and local policies. This report summarizes the results of a series of webinars, and an in-person convening of environmental justice and energy democracy advocates and practitioners. The report begins with key findings and principles and then highlights: 1) Building Electrification (BE) Background, 2) The BEE goals/objectives/methodologies, 3) Major Issues, and 4) Recommendations

Building Electrification Technology Roadmap

The Building Electrification Technology Roadmap (BETR) is a guide for utilities and other organizations developing, implementing, and supporting electrification technology programs as a way to advance high efficiency technologies, reduce GHG emissions, and improve public health. It’s the first study to characterize the industry status of a comprehensive set of electrification technologies that replace traditional combustion technologies, site barriers to adoption, and the road to accelerate adoption. Although developed and written to guide efficiency programs, the recommended actions can also inform manufacturers, the design community, owners, and policymakers.

An Insider’s Guide to Talking about Carbon Neutral Building Operations

The Insider’s Guide to Talking About Carbon Neutral Buildings presents a common language and framework to align market ideas around what it means to design, construct, and operate buildings that contribute little or no carbon emissions. This document explains the relationship between energy and carbon metrics in the built environment and presents the common building components necessary for a carbon neutral future.  Each carbon neutral component focuses primarily on building operations and is presented at a high level.  The details behind each element can be adjusted to fit specific program needs. The resources within provide more information and support the details.

Building Electrification Action Plan

This Action Plan from Sierra Club provides decision-makers and staff in state and local government with a set of near-term policies that will put California solidly on the strategic electrification path - and do so in an equitable and just manner.

Regulatory Solutions for Building Decarbonization

Fossil fuels burned in U.S. buildings contribute 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, most of it from gas used to heat space and water. This report from Rocky Mountain Institute focuses on electrification as the central decarbonization solution: replacing gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives.

The Economics of Electrifying Buildings

This paper from RMI analyzes the economics and carbon impacts of the electrification of residential space and water heating both with and without demand flexibility. Electric space and water heating are compared to fossil fuels for both new construction and home retrofits under various electric rate structures in four locations: Oakland, CA; Houston, TX; Providence, RI; and Chicago, IL.

Residential Building Electrification in California

This study from E3 evaluates the consumer economics, greenhouse gas savings, and grid impacts of electrification in single family homes and low-rise multifamily buildings across six representative home types in six climate zones in California.

A Zero Emissions All-Electric Multifamily Construction Guide

There is a growing trend of new multifamily developments going all-electric across the U.S. and globally, providing significant cost studies. This guide from Redwood Energy shows a variety of all-electric multifamily buildings from across the country. It also aims to explain the trend towards all-electric multifamily housing, summarize best practices, and provide designers a useful catalogue of electric products.

Climate-Friendly Buildings

This guide supports compliance with the Santa Monica Energy Reach Code by providing guidance for meeting all of the Reach Code requirements, including All-Electric Design, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. It also includes additional material on Grid Integration, which is not required by the Reach Code, but which will become an increasingly important part of the decarbonization of buildings and the electrical grid. Additionally, it includes case studies on zero-emissions buildings.

Marin County Electric Home Guide

Electrify Marin is a new rebate program administered by the County of Marin’s Sustainability Team that encourages homeowners to replace gas- and propane-powered appliances with efficient, all-electric models. They have released the Electric Home Guide that outlines the benefits of electrifying, the offered financial incentives, efficient appliances, and more.