BUILDING ELECTRIFICATION: Climate, Health, Equity

After industry and transportation, buildings are a top emitter of greenhouse gases. Electrification of buildings is a critical step toward decarbonization, improved health, and health equity. “Natural” or fossil-fuel gas appliances are proven to increase indoor air pollution and exacerbate conditions such as asthma. The health harms from indoor pollution are compounded by the high outdoor air pollution levels in California, per the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report Card. Also, while 98% of Californians live in counties with a failing grade for at least one air pollution measurement, a person of color is three times more likely to live in a county with failing grades in all measurements.

California is at a critical turning point with several ground-breaking transportation and building decarbonization bills moving through the legislature that we are amplifying and supporting with our health professional voice. In addition, we need to continue our coalition efforts toward pushing the California Energy Commission (CEC) to demonstrate climate health leadership by developing a 2022 building energy code cycle to require all-electric new construction statewide.

This project is funded by support from National PSR and the Energy Foundation. We would also like to thank SF Bay PSR Electrification Project intern Alma Hernandez for her outstanding work.

RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS, click here

PROJECT GOALS

  1. To educate the public about building electrification, including the importance of switching from gas to electric stoves.
  2. To increase awareness of the positive health impacts of building electrification and the negative health consequences of over reliance on fossil fuels, use of hydrogen with fossil gas, and ongoing global warming, particularly in vulnerable communities.
  3. To highlight the real and potential racial and economic inequities raised by building electrification campaigns and suggest strategic courses of action.

TACTICS

  • Produce events, submit op-eds, create materials, and a video to educate the public and health professionals about the health harms of fossil (“natural”) gas appliances, and the compounded health inequities of indoor and outdoor air pollution
  • Create a patient information brochure
  • Survey environmental justice groups and community organizations to understand how to better support their efforts to ensure equity is made a priority throughout the building electrification transition.
  • Advocate for the expeditious removal of fossil gas from buildings, both new and old, by giving testimony and submitting public comments to city and state planning and regulatory agencies
  • Advocate against use of hydrogen in homes and the blending of hydrogen with fossil gas
  • Help to accelerate the just transition to all electric homes and transportation through policy advocacy and regulatory agency comments
  • Protect rooftop solar, currently the fastest path to an affordable, reliable, and safe clean energy grid, through policy advocacy

SPEAKERS BUREAU and Health Harms/Benefits Testimony for city, county, and state planning meetings

SF Bay PSR has health professionals available to give presentations to groups and/or testimony at your local planning meetings about the health harms of gas appliances and benefits of all electric buildings. Please send inquiries to info@sfbaypsr.org, subject line Building Electrification.

EVENTS

WATCH HERE our 2022 event, Building Electrification: Climate, Health, Equity, broadcast on April 27, 2022, a two-hour special on the health harms of gas appliances and the benefits of electric homes to health and the environment, featuring Emma Hines of RMI; Jessica Guadalupe Tovar of Local Clean Energy Alliance; Krystal Pollitt of Environmental Health Sciences at Yale; and Zach Williams of PSR National.

WATCH HERE our 2021 event, Electrification of Buildings: Climate, Health, Justice, broadcast on April 28, 2021, featuring Diane Bailey of Menlo Spark; Brady Seals of RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings program; and Antonio Díaz of PODER—People Organizing to Demand Economic and Environmental Right.

To join our electrification efforts, please email info@sfbaypsr.org and mention that you are interested in joining our Environmental Health Committee and have a specific interest in electrification.