Report: The Economics of Electrifying Buildings

In this paper, we analyze the economics and carbon impacts of the electrification of residential space and water heating both with and without demand flexibility— the ability to shift energy consumption in time to support grid needs. We compare electric space and water heating to fossil fuels for both new construction and home retrofits under various electric rate structures in four locations: Oakland, California; Houston, Texas; Providence, Rhode Island; and Chicago, Illinois. We focus on the residential sector, which makes up the majority of carbon emissions from buildings’ fossil fuel use,4 but a similar market transformation will be needed in commercial buildings to meet deep decarbonization targets. Cooking, clothes drying, and other end uses are assumed to be electric in all cases.

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