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Heinrich Leads 11 Senate Democrats In Introducing Zero-Emission Homes Act To Establish New Rebate Program For Home Electric Appliances, Equipment

The Zero-Emission Homes Act will make the economic, environmental, and health benefits of electrification affordable and accessible to all Americans

WASHINGTON (July 15, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is leading 11 Senate Democrats in introducing the Zero-Emission Homes Act to provide rebates for the purchase and installation of electric appliances and equipment in single-family homes and multifamily buildings, with additional support for low- and moderate- income households.

“Electrifying our homes and businesses is one of the surest climate actions that we can take right now. We can use already existing, proven technologies to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, create millions of good-paying jobs, and secure a more equitable future for our communities,” said Heinrich. “The goal of the Zero-Emission Homes Act is to make the economic, environmental, and health benefits of electrification affordable and accessible to all Americans.”

The Zero-Emission Homes Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). The bill has received widespread support from nearly 200 organizations and nonprofits.

“Technology to reduce carbon pollution already exists, but too many communities in New Mexico and across the country still face barriers,” said Luján, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Zero-Emission Homes Act to make electrification technology more affordable and accessible for businesses and families while creating new, good-paying jobs.”

“Making electric home appliances more accessible and affordable has the potential to both help families save money and help in the fight against climate change,” said Booker. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Zero-Emission Homes Act, legislation that would help transition households to electric appliances while also creating over a million new jobs and reducing our carbon footprint.”

“The economic, health, and environmental benefits of electric home appliances are widely known,” said Whitehouse. “Our Zero-Emission Homes Program would help cover the costs of upgrading to cleaner electric appliances for Rhode Islanders. This is something we can do right now to reduce our carbon footprint and get new, high-functioning appliances into homes.”

“Congress has a duty to empower and assist everyday Americans in reducing their carbon footprint,” said Gillibrand. “Legislation like the Zero-Emission Homes Act of 2021 would help incentivize Americans to utilize zero-emission electric appliances through rebates, and provide the resources to those who may not be able to afford to take these proactive steps otherwise. This is a smart bill that would modernize our economy, lower energy bills, and increase accessibility to electrification for every American household.”

“Climate change is having a dramatic and dangerous effect on Colorado communities,” said Bennet. “In order to take bold climate action and meet science-based emissions reduction targets, we need to help America’s households reduce their carbon pollution while lowering their energy bills. Right now, households account for nearly half of U.S. energy-related emissions. Our legislation makes purchasing and installing electric appliances more affordable to save families money and help tackle climate change.”

“This legislation will mean cheaper energy bills for households and reduced emissions – a win for both consumers and for our planet," said Blumenthal. "By incentivizing the purchase of clean electric appliances and shifting away from ones that pollute, the Zero Emissions Home Act will create jobs and put us on a smarter, sustainable path for the future.”

“Transitioning to electric appliances in our homes is one way we can significantly cut carbon pollution – and create more than a million good-paying jobs in the process,” said Schatz. “We already have the technology – we just need to make it easier. Our bill is about making sure it’s affordable and accessible for every family.”

The Zero-Emission Homes Act:

  • Makes electrification easier and more affordable for all Americans to meet our climate targets.
  • Defines products and projects associated with household electrification as "qualified electrification projects" or "QEPs."
  • Establishes a Zero-Emission Homes Program that provides households with rebates for the purchase and installation of QEPs. The federal zero-emission home program would provide up to $10,000 in immediate price relief for the purchase and installation of select QEPs with additional amounts for low-and-moderate income (LMI) households and multifamily buildings.

Clean, electric appliances for heating, cooling, cooking, and other household functions are available now and, in most instances, perform as well, if not better, than their fossil-fuel counterparts. Electric appliances also avoid the harmful health effects -- such as childhood asthma -- increasingly associated with the burning of fossil fuels in homes.

Electrification also offers enormous economic opportunities. According to a new report from the non-profit Rewiring America, Bringing Infrastructure Home: A 50-State Report on U.S. Home Electrification, 85% of households in America would save money on monthly energy bills today if they were using modern all-electric equipment. At least 57% of households in New Mexico — 447,000 — could save $131 million a year on energy bills. The savings would be biggest for the 341,000 households in New Mexico who are currently using electric resistance, fuel oil, or propane and would save $385 per year on average. Manufacturing, installing, and servicing these appliances would also create over one million new jobs with the potential to pay family-sustaining wages, with installer and servicing jobs distributed across America.

"The climate part of the national infrastructure debate just got a lot more relevant to American families," said Ari Matusiak, CEO of Rewiring America, a nonprofit with the mission of electrifying everything. "Senator Heinrich is making real the promise of a zero emissions America by 2050, making electrifying your home the obvious choice once the upfront costs are no longer a barrier. The widespread job creation and the savings on utility bills that 85 percent of American households would immediately see are a potent political argument for this bill."

“The Zero-Emissions Home Act announced today by Senator Heinrich (NM) makes an essential investment in our nation’s clean building infrastructure. Clean buildings that are carbon-free, affordable, and climate-ready are essential infrastructure and are a matter of survival for millions of Americans. In the last few weeks alone, climate-induced heat storms have led to an unnecessary loss of American life and have strained our power infrastructure. Evergreen applauds Senator Heinrich's leadership on achieving President Biden's commitment to meet President Biden’s commitment to electrify millions of homes and broader clean building policies that will ensure American homes are carbon-free, affordable to heat and cool, and resilient to future climate disasters,"said Sam Ricketts, co-founder of Evergreen.

"The Zero-Emission Homes Act will turbocharge our efforts to decarbonize millions of homes across America – and will help create millions of good-paying jobs as we electrify everything to fight climate change. Sunrun commends Sen. Heinrich for his pioneering and steadfast leadership on the clean energy transition,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun. 

In April, Senator Heinrich introduced the Electrifying America’s Future Resolution to advance the vision of widespread electrification in the U.S. His guest essay calling for electrifying large parts of the U.S. economy and changing the supply of that electricity from polluting fuels to clean energy was published in The New York Times earlier this month.

Find a one-pager of the Zero-Emission Homes Act by clicking here. Read the full bill text by clicking here.