Electrification Mandates and Slow Housing Growth
An article posted on U.C. Berkeley's Energy Institute at Haas blog today highlights the fact that while building electrification mandates are becoming more widespread, policies that only apply to new buildings will be limited in their near-term impact, given the extremely slow rate of new construction, particularly in the Bay Area. This issue is compounded by COVID-19, which has slowed housing starts down by 30% in the US.
"The bottom line is that a lot of us live in older homes and will continue to live in older homes for a long time. Electrification mandates for new homes are not necessarily bad policy, but in countries with a long-lasting housing stock they take a very long time to reduce carbon emissions," writes Lucas Davis, Professor of Business and Technology at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.
These findings underscore the need for local governments to go a step further and develop approaches that de-carbonize existing buildings, rather than only new construction.