Net Zero Emissions for Oregon Buildings

Sierra Club
Project Completed June 2022

The state of Oregon has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2035, and at least 80 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. To achieve this, the state will have to substantially cut emissions from its residential and commercial buildings, which currently account for about 35 percent of the state’s carbon dioxide emissions.  

On behalf of the Sierra Club, Synapse analyzed two different pathways through which Oregon could rapidly electrify its commercial and residential buildings (and replace inefficient electric resistance appliances in the process). Synapse used its Building Decarbonization Calculator to model the turnover of residential and commercial space heating, water heating, cooking, and drying systems, including electrification measures across the state, and estimated the emission impacts of these end uses under the two electrification scenarios. Further, Synapse estimated future changes to the electric and gas systems due to building electrification.

In both scenarios, our analysis shows that building electrification and replacement of inefficient electric resistance appliances lowers overall energy system costs for households and businesses in Oregon, with the cumulative savings of $1.1 billion (net present value) to $1.7 billion through 2050.  Finally, Synapse performed a residential customer bill impact analysis to determine how electrification would currently impact two types of Oregon single-family households. This analysis found that switching to efficient electric appliances at the time of equipment replacement would be effective in meeting Oregon’s emissions reductions goals and could bring substantial net benefits for consumers in Oregon.