As action on climate change grows in urgency, some states have already begun promoting energy efficiency and carbon-free electricity as methods to address these environmental problems. Massachusetts, for examples, offers Mass Save, an energy efficiency initiative focused on empowering residents, businesses, and communities to gain access to energy efficient upgrades. While these upgrades are important, according to the National Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP),  strategic electrification needs to be incorporated to fully meet carbon reduction goals.

Photo credit: Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships

What is strategic electrification?

Strategic electrification involves switching appliances, heating and cooling systems, and other energy users in your home to be electrically powered instead of dependent on fossil fuels. When paired with renewable energy sources, strategic electrification increases energy efficiency and reduces pollution. This method has the potential to lower energy costs as well.

As a part of a wider de-carbonization strategy, strategic electrification is being deployed in multiple sectors, like in residential and commercial spaces, transportation, and industry. Not only does it decrease in energy costs and emissions, but also increases grid flexibility and efficiency. Working in tandem with increased efficiency and a cleaner grid, strategic electrification can help us meet aggressive carbon reduction goals.

How can I help with strategic electrification?

There are three main ways that you can help aid in the strategic electrification process, and benefit from it at the same time.

  1. Electric vehicles: As electric vehicles improve in efficiency, now is a great time to make the switch. Discounts on electric vehicles are offered through many different organizations. Optimizing and providing electric vehicle charging is an important step in this process as well, and there are towns in Massachusetts that participate in the HELPS program offer rebates for charger setups.
  2. Electric hot water system: If this is the right move for you, switching to an electric heat pump hot water system can save you energy year round. These systems are one of the most efficient on the market. Rebates are available through Mass Save to make the switch.

    Solar Access provides heat pumps and solar panels to homeowners around the state.

  3. Heat pumps: Using heat pumps, which are powered by electricity, is an efficient way to both heat and cool your home year round. In addition, when heat pumps are paired with solar panels, homeowners save even more money and decrease their environmental footprint, ensuring that at least a part of the solar-generated electricity now helps power their home. Heat pumps are starting to become more incorporated into Massachusetts homes, and are often a viable way for homeowners to save money and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Switching to heat pumps to heat and cool your home is a great step toward de-carbonization. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, although buildings using propane and heating oil for space and water heating only comprise 10% of all U.S. households, they account for more than 20% of space and water heating emissions. Electrification of space and water heating systems can be very beneficial for those already using fossil fuel based heating systems.

Solar Access

Solar Access, a state-sponsored program administered by CET, bundles solar panels and heat pumps for homeowners in Massachusetts. An energy expert guides you through the program, which adds a special Solar Access incentive to the already existing combination of utility, state, and federal incentives for renewable energy. The incentive ensures that you will own your solar panels and a heat pump and pay less than you do now for energy. Click here to learn more.