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

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

Around 20% TreibhausgasesThe majority of greenhouse gases in the US are emitted by homes. The wealthiest Americans are more likely to emit 25% more greenhouse gasses per capita than lower-income residents. These are problems homeowners can solve with new technology and government incentives.
Most people think of solar panels when they think of their home’s carbon footprint. However, switching to electricity from fossil fuels to heat our home’s water and air may be even more important. More than half EnergyHeating and air conditioning are two of the most important functions that homes use in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of homes rely on them. fossil fuels for heat.
A home’s carbon output can be dramatically affected by switching from natural gas to electric heating. This would decrease carbon emissions in places like Sacramento, California. EmissionsBy 45% today These benefits will only grow over time. The power plants that generate electricity for heat pumps will become more efficient than the furnace in your basement. They will be able to draw more power from the sun, and other sources of renewable energy, unlike the furnace that burns gas. If electrified, the Sacramento home would emit 82% less greenhouse gasses by 2050. It would also have lower utility costs.

Stop thinking of natural gasoline as cleaner

This is why most people have not made the transition. We don’t think of our homes as being heated with fossil fuels. Natural gas has been promoted by the energy industry as a cleaner-burning fuel for heating your home and powering your stove, oven, and dryer. It is true that burning natural gas is more efficient than heating your home with water. Natural gasNatural gas produces approximately half the amount carbon dioxide than coal for the same amount. However, natural gas is produced and transported to your home. methaneNatural gas, which is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming the planet, can be as high as 86 times. This is just one reason why natural gas contributes as much to climate change in the US. coal.

End permits for buildings heated with fossil fuels

It’s a big undertaking to change how every American home heats. But the good news is that we’ve done this before. Wood or coalAbout 77% of US homes were heated in 1940, and 16% in 1960. This cycle is starting anew: More than 50 cities are now in 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. Other states are moving in the other direction. Twenty states in the United States had already quietly prepared for “” by 2021.preemption laws“, exempting natural gas utilities city regulations. This means that many buildings will be powered by natural gas for decades, unless they are retrofitted expensively.

Give homeowners electrification incentives

These preemption laws are only one example of why federal action is needed, but there has been mixed progress. The Make it betterThis plan, which would have provided billions for subsidies primarily for home electrification retrofits and home electrical conversions, is unlikely that it will continue in its current form. It is clear that the incentives would have worked. The use Heat pumpsThe economy has boomed when governments have offset some costs.

Invest in technology

Government incentives aren’t the only option to reduce the impact of our homes on the climate. People will be more comfortable and save money as the technology improves for heat pump, induction ranges, and other appliances that make the home more efficient.

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The obvious example of how technology can impact mass adoption is solar panels. From 2009 to 2019, the cost for generating electricity has fallen by a third. Solar power89% decrease in price, from $359 per gigawatt-hour to $309. Solar panels are now half the price of fossil fuels. They were three times more expensive to build and operate than solar panels.
This is why 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 can easily exceed the monthly loan payments even after the first year. It shouldn’t surprise that it took the US over 40 years to achieve a million. solar panel installationsIt will take three years to reach the next million.

More eco-friendly construction materials and methods

The way we furnish and build homes is changing. Plant Prefab and Veev are manufacturing homes in factories. This lowers the environmental impact and allows for faster construction. Other companies include Advanced Earthen Construction TechnologiesThey are now making homes from earthen blocks and avoiding concrete and lumber, which both contribute to global warming. Earthen-block houses are naturally insulated against extreme temperatures and are resistant the wildfires which are becoming more common in West.

We just need to change our thinking as home construction, power generation, heating and cooling technologies evolve. New responsibilities come with home ownership, as well as new opportunities to make 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 to benefit not only our family, but everyone.

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