The science is clear: We cannot reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the level required by climate science if we continue to burn gas in our homes and buildings. As dozens of cities prepare to clear gas pollution out of homes and buildings, we created the Building Electrification Action Plan for Climate Leaders to advise policymakers at all levels of government on how to keep moving this work forward, and how to do so equitably.
As the fifth-largest economy in the world, and a recognized international leader in climate policy, California is leading the nation with clean energy and carbon-neutrality commitments. However, the next five years are the critical window for California’s policymakers to facilitate a managed transition to gas-free buildings and to create a model that is centered on the needs of workers and low-income and environmental justice communities.
The benefits of eliminating gas combustion appliances from our buildings, commonly known as “electrification”, go well beyond mitigating the climate crisis. Electrification is a core affordability and public health strategy, as it also:
- Lowers the average household energy bill by $4,000–$10,000 over 20 years;
- Reduces the cost of single family home construction by $6,000, and the cost of multifamily apartment building construction by roughly $1,500 per unit;
- Creates roughly 100,000 new jobs in construction, HVAC installation, electrical work, energy efficiency, and load-management services;
- Improves public health by reducing combustion pollution that causes asthma and respiratory diseases; and,
- Makes our communities safer by eliminating the risk of fires and explosions caused by gas leaks, particularly after earthquakes.
This Action Plan describes and quantifies these benefits in greater detail and shows why we must ensure the benefits of electrification are available to all Californians, especially those in low-income and environmental justice communities.
The Plan also offers five strategies for policymakers to ensure our homes and buildings do not stand in the way of California’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions. At a high level, policymakers should:
- Establish a goal to reach zero-emission buildings no later than 2045;
- Strengthen standards for buildings and appliances to reach zero emissions;
- Improve affordability of electrification and prioritize low-income residents;
- Educate and inspire consumers and the workforce; and,
- Remove roadblocks and common barriers to electrification, particularly for low-income and environmental justice communities.
The Action Plan provides greater details on the specific policy opportunities and considerations to have in mind to achieve the objectives above, and shows why “renewable gas” is not an alternative to electrification. Click here to read the Building Electrification Action Plan for Climate Leaders, and join the conversation on social media using hashtags #goelectric, #gasfreebuildings, #passongas, and #healthyhomes. To get involved or for campaign updates, please sign up here.