JEC hearing examines how residential electrification is key to meeting climate change goals

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The congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) held a hearing recently that looked at how home and building electrification is critical to addressing climate change and advancing economic growth.

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The hearing, “Examining the Economic Benefits of Electrifying America’s Homes and Buildings,” revealed that there is an immediate need to engage in easily deployed, scalable climate action. Further, it found that residential and building electrification is one of the surest, most cost-effective solutions, as American households account for 42 percent of energy-related carbon emissions.

The discussion detailed how the electrification of homes and businesses will reduce the burden of energy costs for families and businesses and improve public health and safety.

“These new electric appliances will be much more efficient than the fossil fuel-powered machines they are replacing. And that means significant savings for these families on their monthly utility bills. Those savings can make an enormous difference for a family living paycheck to paycheck,” said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), JEC vice chair, who presided over the hearing. “And, importantly for our climate, all of these electrified machines can be powered by all the new clean and carbon pollution-free electricity that we will generate in our new clean energy economy. This is how we can power our long-term economic recovery and save families money by solving our pressing climate challenge.”

Among the witnesses who testified at the hearing were Ari Matusiak, CEO at Rewiring America; Dr. Leah Stokes, associate professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara; and Donnel Baird, founder and CEO at BlocPower.

“Electrifying homes and buildings is an important component of addressing the existential threat of climate change. The benefits of electrification go beyond the environmental and health benefits of lower global temperatures. These technologies help reduce residential energy costs, which boosts household disposable income – a boon to local businesses across the country – and improve public health outcomes,” JEC Chair Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said. “The scale of the challenges our planet is facing as a result of climate change is great. We must take this opportunity to deploy every tool at our disposal to meet the moment.”

Matusiak, one of the witnesses, said that to achieve zero emissions by 2050, America must replace or install one billion new clean energy machines across all of those households.

“Every time a water heater needs replacement in America, it presents an opportunity to install an efficient, electric heat pump alternative. Every time that opportunity is missed, we put further pressure on hitting our 2050 target. Every machine counts … We do not need to wait on any moonshot technology: it has all already been invented. We do not need to ask Americans to sacrifice or change their lifestyles to survive: indeed, their lives will improve with efficient, electric appliances and equipment.”

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