Electric alternatives to fossil fuel–based building systems are seeing declining costs, increasing efficiency, and improving low-temperature performance. Efficient electrification of space heating, water heating, and other end uses can utilize low-carbon electricity resources to decarbonize buildings. However, building electrification faces several challenges, including upfront and fuel costs, established contractor practices and consumer preferences, and potential upgrades to electricity infrastructure and customer service capacity.
With building electrification increasing and electrification programs emerging across the United States, it is important to quickly surface and scale solutions to potential barriers. Utilities and other program administrators can play a crucial role in accelerating adoption of efficient electric technologies by deploying strategies that address customer and stakeholder concerns while overcoming structural challenges and potential adverse effects.
Building Electrification Working Group
ACEEE established the Building Electrification Working Group (BEWG) as a peer-to-peer network of utilities and other program administrators to share best and emerging practices with an aim toward increasing efficient and equitable electrification that reduces emissions and energy usage. The working group is a comfortable space for members to share and learn from each other to support members in offering new programs or improving existing ones. Activities include peer and expert information sharing, curated webinars, and technical assistance and resources relevant to the members’ priorities. ACEEE facilitates subgroups focusing on specific topics identified by the working group, currently including the following:
- Coordinating Heat Pumps and Building Envelopes/Weatherization
- Improving Consumer and Contractor Engagement and Awareness
- Streamlining or Creating Joint Programs across Multiple Utilities
BEWG membership is open to electric, dual fuel, and gas utilities, and program administrators who have, plan to launch, or are considering such pilots or programs. Potential programs can include full electrification of end use(s), hybrid options (e.g., fuel-based back-up), and replacing electric resistance heating with heat pumps. The working group currently includes members from investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, and municipal utilities covering all regions of the United States, as well as members from Canada.