Building Electrification: Building a Grassroots Movement and Practical Applications

A talk by Lisa Cunningham, Jacob Knowles, Caitlin Peale Sloan, Matt Rusteika and Amy Turner
Warner + Cunningham, Inc., BR+A Consulting Engineers, Conservation Law Foundation, Acadia Center and Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

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About this talk

Lisa will discuss Brookline’s gas prohibition, the creation of a state-wide building electrification campaign, the effect of the AG’s negative ruling in July 2020 and the subsequent identified legal pathways. Local legislation and grassroots organizing are moving the discourse about building electrification into mainstream acceptance with broad political support. 2. As state subsidies and policies moving building energy customers toward electrification ramp up to scale, the future financial viability of gas utilities and their capital assets is being called into question. Amy and Caitlin will explore the current landscape of gas prohibitions and related legal issues in the Northeast. 3. The net zero market is growing exponentially. Net-zero buildings are being built at all scales. This proven track record has enabled states and cities to develop NZ building codes and zoning standards. Jacob will show examples of large scale net-zero buildings achieving these goals with a negligible construction cost premium. 4. Several Northeast states have adopted aggressive greenhouse gas targets requiring steep reductions in every sector. Existing buildings account for nearly a third of emissions regionally. Matt will discuss the strengths and drawbacks of state policies that address emissions in existing buildings, with a special focus on whole-home electrification.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify climate policies that are at the intersection of impactful, practical, and politically possible, and implement these policies at the local level by identifying sources of municipal authority.

  2. Build a grassroots building electrification campaign to support these policies and to advance political support and legislative action at the State and local level.

  3. Learn how net-zero buildings are being built with a negligible cost premium and support new building codes that reflect current technology and construction methods.

  4. Examine policies that address emissions in existing buildings, with a special focus on home electrification.

1 GBCI CEU (self-reported) 1 LFA CEU (pending)