Today’s homes consume energy directly in several forms including electricity, fossil gas, heating oil, propane gas, and wood. This energy is used to do many things including to heat our rooms, heat our water, and prepare our food.
The types of energy a home might use for each of these “end uses” might differ based on several factors like the home’s age, its geographic location, or the appliance choices of its owner.
Building electrification means replacing an appliance or machine in the home that doesn’t use electricity - and might burn wood or burn fossil fuels - with a newer machine that only uses electricity. Switching to electric-only appliances in our homes while, at the same time, the electricity grid switches to 100% clean energy will ensure that we move away from fossil fuels as soon as possible.
Building electrification is a key opportunity to implement the principles of a Just Transition, and transform our homes into regenerative places to live, play, and thrive. However, as the Climate Justice Alliance reminds us, “Transition is inevitable. Justice is not.” To ensure the transition to clean buildings is just, we must use this opportunity to build energy democracy, expand community ownership, address existing inequities, and focus on building what we need now.
This collection gathers a set of tools, research, and media coverage about the topic of building electrification from many different sources into one place. Some of these are specifically framed around equity. As a whole, they represent the technology, policy, and equity data and research available as of April 2021. Below you can click on the links directly or browse the tiles at the bottom of the page.
Electrification Technology & Policy
This includes technology explainers, data on fossil fuel uses, and policy and implementation proposals or discussions.
Energy Policy and Programs
- Landscape analysis of existing programs and opportunities in the American Midwest: Equitable Building Electrification for Rural Electric Cooperatives: Electrifying Residential Space and Water Heating in the Midwest (Environmental and Energy Study Institute, June 2019)
- How to develop equitably policy for building electrification: Equitable Building Electrification: A Framework for Powering Resilient Communities (Greenlining, September 2019)
- Technical and policy context for the gas utility system including rates, financing, and system planning: California’s Gas System In Transition (Gridworks, September 2019)
- Review of early status of building blocks, benefits, and challenges to building electrification with an energy democracy perspective: The Building Electrification Equity Project (Emerald Cities Collaborative, April 2020)
- Technical report on the need for a comprehensive transition strategy: The Challenge of Retail Gas in California’s Low-Carbon Future (E3 for California Energy Commission, April 2020)
- Guide for city agency staff on how to potentially structure a community engagement strategy for equitable electrification: Climate Equity & Community Engagement in Building Electrification Tool Kit (PODER and Emerald Cities, 2020)
- Example of a working decarbonization program for low-income multifamily: Equitable Electrification: Program Models that Work for Existing Low Income Multifamily Buildings (Association for Energy Affordability, 2020)
- Recommendations for what to ask utility regulators for: Renovating Regulation to Electrify Buildings: A Guide for the Handy Regulator (Regulatory Assistance Project, January 2021)
This includes examples of housing policy proposals and other community resilience proposals that recognize the housing crisis, community stability needs, and the climate crisis together, and include building electrification as a key element of creating safe and healthy homes for all.
Schools & Communities
This is a topic with new stories coming out all the time. Below are a few news articles, opinion pieces, and investigative journalism pieces about the benefits of electrification, the context of this technology rollout during the COVID crisis, and the opposition to this clean energy initiative from fossil fuel and utility companies.