The energy and carbon intensity of existing buildings has been a vexing problem for more than three decades. While lighting, appliances, and a wide variety of other technologies have been upgraded significantly for energy performance, the buildings that they are placed into have been remarkably resistant to major change. Improved heat pump technologies, a decarbonizing grid, and state and local carbon reduction goals have created new opportunities to dramatically change the energy and carbon footprint of existing buildings in the Northeast. But the pace of change to date is very slow; less than one percent of buildings have switched away from fossil fuels. Without a rapid and relatively complete change to existing building heating energy, carbon goals cannot be met.
The existing building heating market needs to transform so that improved efficiency and decarbonization become market norms. We see a pathway of three key elements to drive change critical to transform markets that support the decarbonization of buildings at scale in the Northeast:

Pathway Part A

The cost and performance of the essential technologies and technical practices of heat pumps, related smart grid-connected controls, installation and energy efficiency must continue to improve, including new products to address a wider range of building types.

Pathway Part B

Consumers must understand and value the benefits of more efficient buildings and of switching from fossil fuels to electricity.

Pathway Part C

State and local policies must drive improved home and building energy performance, increased electrification, and grid integration. Policies must support programs, incentives and workforce development that expand consumer and business activities. 

Now is the time for regional leadership to drive building decarbonization. The Northeast region is fertile ground for the development of policies and programs to accelerate building  decarbonization to achieve state and regional climate stabilization goals. NEEP is well-positioned and committed to continuing to expand our impactful regional partnerships to achieve this; and will work in partnership with others to build momentum to drive market transformation on a regional as well as national scale.

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