Over the past few years, utilities, states, cities, agencies and non-profits have published a steady stream of studies and reports on how strategic electrification is needed to address aggressive carbon emission reduction goals. The latest such report is a collaboration between Environment America, a coalition of environmentalist advocacy groups based in Denver, Colorado; U.S. PIRG Education Fund, a public interest research group based in Washington, DC; and the Frontier Group, an environmentalist think tank based in Santa Barbara, California.
Electric Buildings: How to repower where we live, work and learn with clean energy (Electric Buildings), describes how electric technologies for space heating, water heating and cooking can help America’s homes and businesses fully transition away from fossil fuel use by mid-century. This new report draws extensively from published electrification studies to inform its discussion of the challenges and benefits of electrifying the nation’s buildings. Challenges include upfront costs for retrofits, lack of consumer knowledge, increased demand on the electric grid and the cost of subsidies, mandates, and financing options needed to incentivize building owners. Preventing “catastrophic and irreversible damage to our climate” by ending the use of fossil fuels is the primary benefit of electrification, but the report also discusses the public health benefits of reducing pollution from fossil fuel combustion and scenarios where all-electric technologies like heat pumps make financial sense for consumers.
For example, the report references research by The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) which found that homeowners who use heat pumps in new construction projects can “save between $2,000 and $13,700 in net-present costs for space and water heating over a 15-year period.” RMI’s research also found that homeowners who use propane or oil could “realize thousands of dollars of savings” by retrofitting their homes with heat pumps.
High Potential for Heat Pumps
Electric Buildings is consistent with other electrification reports and studies in identifying heat pumps as preferred space heating systems for electrified homes and businesses. The report acknowledges how modern heat pumps have “a high potential for more widespread installation” in colder regions due to advances in cold-climate efficiency. For more information on residential heat pumps and cold-climate performance, watch our on-demand webinar.
We’re proud to support strategic electrification by designing heat pumps for all climates and building types, from large commercial buildings to residences. We’re also working with utilities, cities and states to advocate for some of the policy changes and incentives recommended in Electric Buildings. As you continue to read and follow electrification reports and research, consider us a resource to help you navigate utility incentives and understand how our products help solve electrification’s challenges.
Use our rebate search tool to discover what utility rebates are offered in your area.