Opinion: Your home is the next front in combating climate change

About 20% TreibhausgasesThe majority of greenhouse gases in the US are emitted by homes. Homes of the richest Americans, who are able to afford climate-saving modernizations more easily, produce 25% more greenhouse gasses per capita than homes of people with lower income. These problems can be solved as homeowners by using new technology and government incentives.
We think of solar panel when we think of our home’s carbon emissions. But switching to electricity from other fossil fuels for heating the home’s water and air may be more important. More than half EnergieHeating and air conditioning are two of the most important functions that homes use in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of all homes do so. fossil fuels for heat.
The carbon emissions of a home that uses electricity to heat it can be dramatic. For example, Sacramento would see a decrease in its carbon output if it switched to electricity. EmissionsToday, the rate is 45% The benefits are only going to increase with time. Not like the furnace in your basement that uses gas to heat the air, power plants that produce electricity for heat pumps become more efficient and get more power from sunlight and other sources of renewable power. The Sacramento home that is electrified would produce 82% less greenhouse gases in 2050. This home would also have lower utility costs.

Stop viewing natural gas as cleaner

Most people aren’t ready to make this change yet because they don’t think of their homes as being heated with fossil fuels. The energy industry promotes natural gas as a cleaner-burning fuel for heating your water and running your stove, oven, dryer. It is true that burning gas can be very dangerous. Natural gasFor the same energy, natural gas emits half as much carbon dioxide than coal. Natural gas transport and production can emit more carbon dioxide than coal. methaneThe planet can be warmed by natural gas up to 86x more than carbon dioxide. This is just one reason why natural gas in the US contributes as much as carbon dioxide to climate change. Coal.

End permits for buildings heated with fossil fuels

It is difficult to change the heating system in every American home. But, we have done it before. Wood or coalIn 1940, about 77% of US houses were heated and in 1960, it was about 16%. This cycle is starting anew: There are more than 50 cities. California, and most recently New York CitySome states have stopped granting permits to buildings that use natural gas, or other fossil fuels instead of electricity. However, other states are moving in opposite directions. Twenty states in the United States had already quietly prepared for “” by 2021.preemption laws“, exempting natural gas utilities city regulations. Many buildings will continue to be powered by gas, even if they have to be retrofitted.

Give homeowners electrification incentives

Preemption laws like these are one example of why federal action is necessary, but there has been mixed progress. The Rebuild BetterThis plan, which would have provided billions for subsidies largely for retrofits or home electrification, is unlikely to be continued in its current form. There is overwhelming evidence that it would have worked. The use of Heat pumpsEconomies have boomed in areas where government has offset some of the costs.

Invest in technology

However, government incentives aren’t the only way we can reduce our homes’ impact on the environment. People will be more comfortable and save money as the technology for heat pumps, induction ranges, and other appliances improves.

The obvious example of technology changing the economics of mass adoption is solar panels. The cost of producing electricity has dropped from 2009 to 2019. Solar powerThis dropped 89% from $359 to $40 per megawatt-hour. After taking into account plant-building and operational costs, solar panels have fallen to half the price of fossil fuels.
Because of this dramatic improvement in efficiency, most people who install solar panels save money right away. A solar panel loan does not require a down payment. The typical utility bill savings will exceed the monthly loan payments even after the first year. It is therefore not surprising that the US took 40 years to obtain a million dollars. solar panel installationsIt will take three years to reach the next million.

Make use of eco-friendly materials and techniques in construction

It is changing how we furnish and build homes. Plant Prefab and Veev are manufacturing homes in factories. They reduce the environmental impact and operate with a lower cost while increasing the building time, quality, and cost. Others include Advanced Earthen Construction TechnologiesThe new manufacturing of homes using earthen blocks is a way to avoid concrete and lumber that contributes to global warming. These earthen-block houses are naturally protected against extreme temperatures and are more resistant to wildfires than other homes.

Our thinking must change as technology changes in home construction, power generation, heating and cooling. The new responsibilities that come with homeownership include new opportunities and new opportunities for making the world a better place. This means that you will need to learn about new economics in order to not only own a house but also to manage it. Our goal could be not only to benefit ourselves but our entire family.