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Heinrich Leads Hearing Highlighting How Electrification Can Make The American Household A Cornerstone Of Climate-Friendly Infrastructure

Senator Heinrich is fighting for priorities in the Build Back Better Agenda that make the economic, environmental, and health benefits of electrification affordable and accessible to all Americans

WASHINGTON (Sept. 22, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), led a hearing to examine how the electrification of homes and buildings can help families and small businesses save money, improve health outcomes, and serve as a critical investment in the fight to address the long-term effects of climate change.

Senator Heinrich opened the hearing, “Examining the Economic Benefits of Electrifying America’s Homes and Buildings,” by noting carbon emissions do not solely come from gas-powered cars and trucks, but that American households “are also burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon pollution from our hot water heaters, furnaces, clothes dryers, ovens, and stoves.” Senator Heinrich pointed to research finding this leads to health issues “particularly […] if someone in your family has asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Electrifying American homes and businesses is one of the surest, lowest-cost climate actions available and does not rely on new technologies. CEO of Rewiring America Ari Matusiak and witness at today’s hearing backed this up by saying, “We don’t need to wait on any moonshot technology: it all already exists. We don’t need to ask Americans to sacrifice or change their lifestyles to survive. We can define our climate strategy in a way that benefits every American directly and immediately.” 

Using proven technologies to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, residential electrification can save families money and create good-paying jobs. Manufacturing, installing, and servicing these appliances would also create jobs with the potential to pay family-sustaining wages, with installer and servicing jobs distributed across America.

While there are broad positive returns to electrifying homes and buildings, American families and businesses can also face ample barriers to making these initial investments.

Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara Dr. Leah Stokes, who was also on the witness panel today, stated in the hearing that “to accelerate building electrification, Congress must make key investments now. The goal should be to have clean appliances be the default choice for all Americans. Zero-Emission appliance rebates are crucial for making clean technologies accessible to all Americans.

This Congress, Senator Heinrich introduced the Zero-Emission Homes Act to provide rebates for electric appliances and equipment in single-family homes and multifamily buildings, with additional support for low- and moderate- income households.

In a prepared written testimony, panel witness at today's hearing and BlocPower Founder and CEO Donnel Baird stated his support for electrification rebates noting that across America the benefits “to our economy are massive. Billions of dollars a year in health savings, billions more in disposable income families save on energy bills and spend in local communities, or save towards a more secure future.

In the hearing Baird expressed that “the markets have spoken, the private sector has spoken, and endorsed better building electrification technology.” BlocPower is currently working with companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Goldman Sachs, American Family Life insurance company, Salesforce, and more that are embracing low carbon health buildings.

The full hearing, list of witnesses, and witness testimonies can be found by clicking here. Senator Heinrich’s opening remarks can be found by clicking here. 

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

Senator Heinrich is fighting for investments in the Build Back Better agenda to help communities confront the climate crisis head on, move the clean energy transition forward, and power New Mexico’s economic recovery.