The Building Sector Is a Major Source of Carbon Pollution
We Can Slash Gas Emissions By Switching To Electric Alternatives
We can slash gas emissions by switching to electric alternatives for heating, cooking, and other home and building needs. Electricity is getting cleaner with the rapid expansion of renewables, while electric alternatives for heating and other purposes are becoming more efficient.
All-Electric Construction Is Increasingly Affordable
Electrification of space and water heating can be less expensive than gas, especially for new construction where the cost of adding and maintaining gas piping can be avoided altogether.
Analysis from RMI also finds that switching from gas to all-electric in new construction saves homeowners money in cities across the U.S.
Leading Cities & States Have Begun The Transition to Gas-Free Buildings
Over the last year, several dozen local governments – concentrated in California but also in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington state – have moved aggressively to phase out gas use in buildings, which along with cars are the predominant greenhouse gas contributors in many cities.
Electrification Is A Job Creator
Work to decarbonize buildings, especially to retrofit the existing building stock, would create a significant number of new jobs. According to a groundbreaking study released by Rewiring America, the United States can create 25 million jobs by substantially transitioning from fossil fuels in the power, transportation, building, and industrial sectors by 2035, using only existing technologies.
According to the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, new jobs associated with efficiency improvements, installation of electric appliances, and grid enhancements would more than offset the reduction in gas-related employment – and proactive planning could facilitate an orderly transition to protect those affected workers. And a recent report from the Sierra Club also finds that a national clean buildings program could create more than 517,000 good jobs per year.
“Renewable Natural Gas” Is Not An Alternative To Electrification
As electrification has gained momentum, gas utilities are fighting back by suggesting that fossil gas can eventually be replaced with a sustainably produced alternative.
However, biomethane – or “renewable natural gas,” as the industry now calls it – is much more expensive than fossil gas, has considerable supply constraints, can exacerbate environmental justice concerns, and in many cases is neither environmentally friendly nor sustainable. Electrification of building space and water heating is necessary for achieving emissions reduction goals and is a no regrets near-term solution, as made clear from two different reports released in early 2021 from the National Academies and researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Evolved Energy Research.