February 5, 2023

Maryland’s Next Climate Challenge: Exciting Homes for Low-Income Marylanders

Maryland is in the driver’s seat when it comes to climate action after boldly crossing climate solutions bill last year to electrify everything from school buses to trucks and cars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031. But the state is just getting started. With the ambition of Governor Wes Moore climate platformThe government is well positioned to dig deeper and shift homes and buildings to clean energy by electrifying our devices, and by doing so, it removes a heavy indoor pollution for families.

Electrifying homes in Maryland, especially in emergency light new research It’s making waves this month, showing that gas stoves are responsible for about 13% of childhood asthma cases in the United States. This is because gas stoves can emit high doses of nitrogen dioxide, a form of air pollution known to trigger asthma and other respiratory problems. These problems are exacerbated in low-income households, who are more likely to live in high-density areas with less ventilation for them.

Read the full report here.

But it’s not just about the stoves, it’s about all the appliances in our house. New electrical options such as two-way heat pumps to replace obsolete gas ovens and electric hot water heaters to replace older gas versions are on the market and outpacing their old gas counterparts. They are much more energy efficient, work faster, help protect our climate and do not pollute our homes.

With Maryland in its newfound age of climate leadership, it could be a precursor to how it plans a broad-lens approach to electrifying homes in the state. A new report by Earthjustice, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, the Rocky Mountain Institute and Sierra Club Maryland illuminates a path for state legislators and policymakers to ensure every family in the state can switch to electricity. low-income households.

  1. Focus on electrifying low-income households by 2030.
    Maryland policymakers and legislators should prioritize electrified homes for low-income residents to focus funding flows and resources where they need them most, and concentrate resources where homeowners cannot otherwise be encouraged to upgrade their homes (60% of low-income Marylanders rent ) houses). Maryland could achieve this goal by 2030 and set a trend for the rest of the country.

  2. Use a whole house approach.
    Maryland may also initiate a unified whole-home retrofit program that matches electrification, provides weather protection services such as improved insulation for maximum efficiency, repairing roofs and wiring, and energy assistance such as utility bill support and access to rooftop solar programs.

  3. Assemble $2 billion in state and federal fund flows for maximum benefit.
    Maryland’s current housing aid and energy policies are disparate and uncoordinated, leaving the state’s low-income residents underserved and leaving important climate opportunities on the table. Maryland policymakers and legislators must align, knit, and coordinate state and federal funding streams to accelerate Maryland’s climate action and electrification. The new and unique streams of federal funds, including the Inflation Reduction Act, provide an opportunity for Maryland to launch an innovative program to simultaneously improve, repair, and electrify low-income homes. This funding, combined with other federal and state sources, provides a $2 billion funding opportunity for all home repairs in Maryland.

  4. Establish a long-term utility plan to quit gas and switch to electricity.
    Looking ahead, Maryland should adopt a plan that would require the Public Service Commission to plan for the controlled decommissioning of the existing gas distribution system as electrification efforts continue across Maryland. The state should also end STRIDE, a program that encourages utilities to replace gas lines and is one of the most expensive programs ever undertaken in Maryland, with significant cost implications for taxpayers over the next century.

More than one-fifth of Maryland’s population, or 450,000 householdsqualifies as low-income. While the majority live in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas, at least a quarter of households in the more rural Eastern Shore and Western counties are low-income. In other words, low-income Marylanders in both urban and rural areas of the state would benefit greatly from a policy approach that prioritizes electrifying their homes.

When it comes to our homes where we spend most of our daily lives, every Maryland resident deserves a modern upgrade and fresh air. It’s time to build an electrified future for Maryland at every income level.

Read the Full Report

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