You are here

electrification

Building decarbonization—particularly through widespread adoption of heat pumps for space and water heating—is now a central strategy for New York State to meet its climate targets. The installation of heat pumps can cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector, but the timing of system replacements is crucial.

Earlier this year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) released a nonbinding resolution for a Green New Deal. The 14-page document outlines a sweeping set of goals related to greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure investments, and labor markets--largely through a lens of justice and equity.

Here in Cambridge, MA we’re all too familiar with frigid winters. We may consider ourselves all-star thermostat programmers, but how many of us know in detail where the heat comes from? Most of us, knowingly or not, count on electric resistance baseboards, oil furnaces, or gas boilers to warm our homes and occupy our heating bills. But there’s another option that may be worth a look: heat pumps.

The Northeast is going to have to step it up if states want to meet their admirably ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to roughly 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050. While the seven states in question—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—had by 2015 managed to get their GHG levels down by 19 percent, the approaches they’ve been using won’t be enough. Enter strategic electrification—an approach increasingly recognized as an essential and cost-effective part of deep decarbonization.