June 3, 2021
On June 3rd the Center for American Progress and Rewiring America released a new plan that would offer Americans incentives to switch from gas to electric appliances to make a difference in fighting climate change and air pollution.
“Federal investment to speed up household electrification is an effective, equitable, and necessary part of the U.S. effort to build back better,” said Trevor Higgins, senior director of Domestic Climate and Energy Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “This plan offers a roadmap for legislation that makes electrification a default choice by equalizing costs.”
The plan to have households replace just four appliances—heat pump space heaters, heat pump water heaters, induction cooktops/ranges, and upgraded breaker boxes—would also create millions of new jobs and lower monthly bills for most Americans.
Residential electrification is essential to helping limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Overall, the United States must replace more than 80 million of these appliances across more than 50 million households over the next decade.
The plan proposes new consumer rebates for the purchase and installation of these appliances, which would deliver an average incentive of $4,200 to participating households and an average of $6,000 to participating low-to-moderate income (LMI) households.
The report provides a roadmap for legislative language that could be included in the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan.
“American families can play a crucial role in meeting our climate goals while improving the quality of the air they breathe inside their homes,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), lead sponsor of the Electrifying America’s Future Resolution, which supports widespread electrification of American homes and businesses. “This type of rebate would decrease the barriers to home electrification for tens of millions, lower monthly bills, and create good-paying jobs and the market demand that will lower prices and expand accessibility for everyone.”
The household savings would be substantial. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, there are an estimated 65 million U.S. households that could together save more than $27 billion each year on their energy bills if they were using modern electric appliances today instead of space and water heaters powered by oil, propane, and electric resistance (such as inefficient baseboard heaters).
More than 35 million of these are LMI households at or below 80 percent of annual median income. On average, a fully electrified household could save between $1,500 and $2,500 per year on its energy bills, up to $750 of that from just electrifying space and water heating.
“Home electrification is the sweet spot in the infrastructure debate happening now in Washington,” said Ari Matusiak, CEO of Rewiring America and co-author of the report. “It’s about construction jobs and modernizing our homes, but it’s also a kitchen table strategy to engage Americans in climate solutions. It directly addresses the imperative for economic justice with lower monthly bills and healthier air quality for families living in the oldest, most inefficient houses.”
The report can be found here: “To Decarbonize Households, America Needs Incentives for Electric Appliances”