Tuesday Nov 29, 2022

Issues of the Environment: The push for electrification in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County – WEMU

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Overview

  • According to EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, decisions about which fuels we use are responsible for ∼42% of our energy–related carbon emissions. (Source: *directly quoted* https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-sinks) 
  • Household electrification is an efficient pathway to decarbonizing a household. Simple swaps, like changing to an electric induction stove instead of a methane gas cooktop, can save energy. In addition to the environmental benefits, research published by rewired.org shows that home electrification tends to save money for homeowners.
  • The City of Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability & Innovations is partnering with the Green Home Institute and Michigan Saves to host a free Home Electrification Expo on Friday, July 15th. Visitors to the event can preview less familiar technology (like heat pump water heaters, and induction cooktops, and air-source heat pumps), and meet with manufacturers and local installers to test the equipment and ask questions. Homeowners at various stages of their own home electrification journeys will also offer their personal experiences, and visitors can get a personal energy assessment of their home. In addition, solar installers will present ways of reducing your energy costs through solar, so electrification makes even more sense.  
  • Household electrification is one piece of fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Assuming future energy loads are mostly renewables, electrified U.S. household uses substantially less energy than current homes. One area of enormous savings is the elimination of thermoelectric losses in electricity generation. (Source: *directly quoted* https://www.rewiringamerica.org/policy/household-report)
  • The current challenge to home electrification is that upfront costs of electric replacement technology can be a barrier to switching. Although, over time solar and electric tends to save money, the cost of entry can be particularly hard to overcome for lower income homeowners who most stand to benefit from the efficiency-related savings.
  • Julie Roth, Senior Energy Analyst, Office of Sustainability & Innovations for Ann Arbor, says that household electrification is part of the city’s plan to make Ann Arbor carbon neutral by 2030 as part of the A2Zero Carbon Neutrality plan. 

Transcription

David Fair: This is 89 one WEMU, and the local movement towards carbon neutrality is a work in progress. I’m David Fair, and on this week’s edition of Issues of the Environment, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can help and an opportunity at the end of the week for you to enhance your efforts of greater energy efficiency. One of the pathways to decarbonizing your home is through appliance electrification and elimination of thermoelectric loss. Here to enhance our understanding of that today is Julie Roth. She is the senior energy analyst in the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations. And thank you so much for the time today, Julie.

Julie Roth: Thank you so much for having me.

David Fair: How significant is residential energy use and energy loss in America to contributing to the greenhouse gases affecting the climate crisis?

Julie Roth: It’s very significant. Most of the time when we think about decarbonization or discontinuing burning of fossil fuels, we often think about our grid–our big power plants, our gas and coal burning power plants. But the truth is that a good quarter to third or even up to 40%, depending on the region of greenhouse gas …….

Source: https://www.wemu.org/show/issues-of-the-environment/2022-07-13/issues-of-the-environment-the-push-for-electrification-in-ann-arbor-and-washtenaw-county

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