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Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Study: 81% Emissions Savings in All-Electric Single Homes

Allison Friedman MA, United States 0 Ratings 99 Discussions 131 Group posts

Posted by: Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Study: Energy Emissions Savings in All-Electric Single Homes

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has updated previous research in a report titled, "The Economics of Electrifying Buildings” and concludes in current findings that new all-electric single homes result in a net present cost savings of up to $6,800 over 15 years and 81% lower carbon emissions on average than the same homes when built to run on mixed fuels for cooking, space heating, and water heating. All-electric homes performed better in every one of seven cities studied: Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York City, and Seattle, Washington.  

The all-electric homes result in significant carbon emissions reductions.  Seattle showed the biggest difference at 93%, followed by New York at 81%.  4 cities showed impressive savings of over 50%.    

A challenge to adoption can be that up front costs are often higher for all-electric homes, though not in all markets.  Even though the homes will cost significantly less over their lifetime, the sticker price is often higher at the point of purchase.  This up front difference will likely have to be addressed with some combination of incentives or changes/adjustments to lending products in order for all-electric new homes to become mainstream.   

Policies implications and ideas to overcome barriers suggested by RMI include:

  • Educating contractors
  • Educating consumers and developers
  • Update gas line extension allowances (lower current incentives to hook up gas connections)
  • Better account for the true societal cost of fossil fuels (to cover fuel delivery costs, health and climate impacts)
  • Financing changes to address the difference between the up front costs and lifetime costs of these technologies 

To meet Paris Agreement commitments and the rising number of national and subnational net zero emissions targets, the energy consumption of buildings must be addressed.  Buildings consume over one third of global energy produced, and product approximately 40% of CO2 emissions.  Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly clear that relying on fossil fuels to heat buildings and power appliances leads to significant health risks and environmental consequences.  The RMI report is a significant start at understanding the lifetime costs of replacing fossil fuels with electric technologies in buildings.  This report shows that costs make sense over the lifetime of a building; a next step will be to determine the proper combination of the levers mentioned (and others) needed to promote widespread adoption.

 

To read the full report:
https://rmi.org/insight/the-new-economics-of-electrifying-buildings

 

 

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