We’ve often heard that decarbonizing our households, by switching all our fossil-fueled machines to electric ones, would be prohibitively expensive. But Rewiring America’s new study, No Place Like Home: Fighting Climate Change (and Saving Money) by Electrifying America’s Households, by Saul Griffith, PhD and Sam Calisch, PhD, offers hope and highlights an opportunity. If households were to electrify everything from their cars to their heaters, backed by renewable energy sources, they could cut their energy bills by a third and save $1,050-$2,585 per year – even after the cost of financing the switch.
Our households create 42% of all our greenhouse gas emissions. Electrification is the only currently viable pathway we have for reducing these emissions enough to meet the targets scientists have told us are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In order to do it, we have to swap all of our fossil-fueled cars and appliances to electric ones at the earliest opportunity – the next time we trade in a car, replace a water heater, put in a new roof, or buy a new stove. These clean energy appliances come with higher upfront costs to deliver cheaper electricity over time, which means that we will need low-cost financing to accomplish the switch.
Once we make the trade to clean energy, we’ll find that we’ll be able to enjoy all the comforts of home we’re used to – warmth and cooling, zippy cars, hot water, radiant heat – but with lower costs and cleaner air.
This is a tremendous opportunity for America to jump-start its economy and combat climate change – if policymakers act now to help American’s take advantage of the opportunities presented by electrification. We’ve identified three crucial steps: 1) make sure electrification is affordable for all American household through cheap financing and direct assistance for those who need it; 2) stimulate manufacturing of electric appliances and infrastructure to put people to work now and ensure that the means are there for households to make this switch; and 3) streamline the regulatory and permitting processes that currently add unnecessary costs to households looking to electrify. To accomplish this transformation, we will also need a lot of help. That’s why we’re asking you to do what you can to fight climate change starting from your household. Please join our movement by volunteering or donating to help us get the wheels in motion to make what we know is possible a reality that will save our future.