To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it’s absolutely vital to transition away from fossil fuels and repower our society with clean renewable energy— and electrifying the places we live and work is an important step on that path. Burning fossil fuels for powering residential and commercial buildings causes nearly 30% of our country’s global warming emissions. Even worse, a significant portion is methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps even more heat than carbon dioxide.
Electrifying our homes and buildings includes transitioning away from appliances powered by fossil fuels. Studies have found that methane leaks from the gas pipelines crossing the country and gas-powered appliances in our homes, like furnaces, boilers and stoves. A recent study from Stanford estimated that the annual amount of methane emissions from gas stoves alone equates to the carbon dioxide pollution of half a million cars.
Increasingly, research shows that combusting gas indoors for cooking can result in unhealthy levels of indoor air pollution, even causing asthma to develop in children. The benefits of electrification extend beyond mitigating climate change and improving health, as going all-electric can help save customers money on utility bills, eventually counterbalancing the upfront costs of switching. For all these reasons, forward-thinking cities and towns across America, including New York City, Denver, and San Francisco, are forging the path to all-electric buildings by passing gas bans and switching to clean, efficient and all-electric technologies.
That’s why U.S. PIRG Education Fund and our friends at Environment America Research & Policy Center have released a new guide, Ten Ways Your Community Can Go All-Electric, to serve as a starting point for local elected officials and community members ready to join the movement. The guide presents straightforward steps to electrify the places we live, work, learn and spend time with loved ones.
The resource includes a variety of examples of local electrification policies and programs from all over the country. From Berkeley, California mandating that all new buildings must be all-electric, to Concord, Massachusetts offering rebates and free educational resources to residents installing electric heat pumps, communities everywhere are doing their part to work toward making buildings emission-free and combating climate change.
Read Ten Ways Your Community Can Go All-Electric here.
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