It’s Net Zero Buildings Week, which makes it a great time to celebrate building decarbonization and electrification efforts across California!
While buildings contribute about 25% of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions, there have recently been major strides to bring this number down: over 50 jurisdictions have formally committed to decarbonizing new homes, and just last year, the California Energy Commission approved AB 3232 and the California Building Decarbonization Assessment to reduce 40% of building emissions by 2030. Additionally, California’s 2022-2023 state budget has allocated nearly $1 billion for retrofitting older buildings, and four California cities have joined the National Building Performance Standards Coalition to advance innovative, equitable approaches to decarbonizing existing buildings.
These efforts are important steps toward making homes healthier for occupants and their communities, and Build It Green has been bringing together decisionmakers, builders, designers, and advocates across California to keep the momentum going. We invite you to check out the work compiled below, which highlights the power of this collaboration and offers approaches we can take to support affordability and social equity goals on the way to a net zero future. We hope you’ll spend some time diving in!
Affordable, Equitable Decarbonization Working Group
One of the Building Our Future working groups is identifying projects with the potential to accelerate equitable and affordable decarbonization efforts in residential building. They are currently focused on mapping out key players in the equitable decarbonization space and exploring how renter protections can be worked into in the policies and practices of local jurisdictions. If you work in California’s housing sector and you’d like to join this group, sign up here.
In this mini documentary, we tour Oakland-based cooperative OBY’s first accessory dwelling unit (ADU): an all-electric, 625-square-foot home built for a Section 8 tenant on a participating homeowner’s property. Check out how OBY is reimagining ADU building and financing by watching the video here.
Panel Optimization Work and Electrical Reassessments Group (POWER)
Electrical panel upgrades can be an expensive and complex process, creating a major barrier on the road to home electrification and achieving net zero. Build It Green has been hosting bi-weekly POWER calls with builders, electricians, utility staff, and others to explore how we can streamline the processes around panel upgrades (and electrify homes without them). Read more about the group and their work here.
The Business Case for Electrification
Learn about some of the environmental, health, and economic benefits of electrification, as well as several incentive and rebate programs homeowners and renters can utilize to make the process more affordable. Check out the blog here.
Community Changemakers Interview with Bronwyn Barry
By prioritizing the building envelope and building aspects like high-performance windows, building to Passive House standards is a way to reduce a home’s energy use without relying on high-efficiency technologies. We spoke with Bronwyn Barry to hear her insights as principal of Passive House BB, a Passive House architecture/design firm, and former board chair of the Passive House Network. Read the interview here.
The Practical Guide to All-Electric, Lower Cost Multifamily Buildings with EV Charging
Earlier this year, we hosted a training session with Nick Brown of Build Smart Group and Robert Fortunato of ForStrategy Consulting to explore proven approaches to developing affordable, all-electric multifamily housing. Check out key takeaways from the event and access the recording and presentation here.
All-Electric Homes for Builders
Last year, we were joined by Amy Valine and Dr. Will Allen, Research Analyst and Senior Technical Consultant from energy consulting firm ConSol, to discuss electrification in the context of the new code cycle. The event speakers also shared common misconceptions around electric appliances, benefits that homeowners and builders can expect with all-electric homes, and examples of net zero energy projects in Southern California. The recap is available here.
Renters Empowered in an Electrified Future
During Affordable Housing Month, we hosted an event to explore ways that renters can benefit from and have more agency in the home electrification process. You can find the recording here and the resource handout here.
Thank you to the New Buildings Institute for allowing us to participate in Net Zero Buildings Week!
Our work of bringing people together to achieve equitable decarbonization is ongoing, and we know there are many other resources and people working towards these goals. Please share this far and wide, and if you have questions or know of others we should engage in this space, we’d love to hear from you. Email us anytime at: [email protected].
Header image courtesy of Andrey Popov on iStock.