Thanks Dave. Inspiring. Recently I've been wonking out on providing some suggestions on local small town revisions to the energy/green construction code, and trying to be "nice." Which seems to mean hoping that incentives for electrification work, and having lots of exceptions, which seem to be for the larger energy uses. So maybe no more mr. nice guy. Start hollering that new buildings need to treat fossil fuels like we treated leaded gas in 1970. "Un-HC fuel only." Bernie Sanders makes a similar point at the end of his recent interview in the July 11 NY Times. “Liberals want to do nice things. And progressives understand that you have to take on powerful special interests to make it happen.”

I just visited a new all-electric low-income apartment bldg. in our cold town (-15F heating design, 8000 heating degree days). The most striking thing was the simplicity. It was master-metered too, so didn't have rows of electric and gas meters, in addition to circulating water systems, gas pipes, flue vents, CO sensors etc. Just the refrigerant pipes which provided heat and cool (which we didn't even typically need until 20 years ago), an ERV on each unit, low-water use and simple electric appliances. The builder scream that their UMC money-making projects just must have gas ranges, fireplaces, giant windows.... Yes, all that refrigerant is bad. Needs work, but is not a reason not to electrify.

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Consultations! You just convinced me to order the Tesla that I've been dithering over.

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As a liquidity and panel constrained homeowner here’s what I’d like but also won’t happen:

Freeway financing, feds pay 90% I pay 10%

For example. if an electrician charges 400$ bucks to install a new panel I only pay $40 if they charge $200 to install a 220 plug for a water heater or stove I only pay 20$. Electricians make lots of money, I get the ability to decarbonize as I need to replace my appliances.

Also if the feds paid 90% of appliances I’d swap all four of my gas fired ones out today. Rather than waiting for them to die. But a 30% or 50% payment of appliances would be acceptable

Likewise a weed whacker fee schedule to assault regulatory slow walking by utilities. If I get solar I shouldn’t have to wait 1-6 months after install for the utility to deign to come by rubber stamp it and finally turn it on. If they’re not there to turn on solar within one week of install they get fined a thousand dollars a day.

I’d like to see a massive fear federal advertising campaign like the war on drugs focused on carbon monoxide emitting furnaces and stoves and water heaters to scare people into switching them out. Egg in the frying pan fear ads. Fear fear fear repeated constantly and everywhere. Make every new parent terrified their gas appliances are going to kill their kids. If huge subsidies are the carrot; an anti gas appliance fear ad campaign is the stick. Every gullible parent that has responded to the subtle bad-parent “honest company” fear campaigns and are paying 500% markups on diapers are candidates to junk their old appliances instantly if you scare them with “carbon monoxide makes them bad parents” techniques.

Likewise I’d love to see a federal effort to make gas appliances more expensive. A $12.50 fee on every gas appliance sold would be a start, while giving authority to the secretary of energy to double it every year of climate goals aren’t being met. But no authority to reduce fees once raised. A Republican appointed one would t continue to raise them but couldn’t cut them. In four years every gas appliance is $100 more expensive, in 8 years they’re $1600 more expensive and literally no one wants to buy them except MAGAs with too much money and too little brains.

The same could be done for cars. Every ICE car could be slapped with a 125$ VIN registration fee, and if we’re not meeting climate goals the secretary of transportation can double it once a year (but not lower it). In 8 years, every ICE car could be $16,000 more expensive from that fee while every electric car could be $12500 cheaper from fed intervention. That sort of hitting the issue from both ends will force the economics of replacing ice cars to happen at a vastly faster timeframe.

We should also be pursuing “good neighbor” grid upgrades for the fancy super current grid acronym thing that was like seventeen articles long. Basically if a state connects the super fancy new grid stuff to another state, each state gets a totally unrestricted block grant of $100,000,000 for being a good neighbor (for the grid. ) that would push a red state like Missouri to try to make grid connections to all eight of its neighbors and bank $800,000,000 they can slush fund to Republican pet projects (probably state subsidies for gas appliances and ice cars to fight the evil federal gubmint)

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There are obstacles at every turn, and the vested interests keep throwing them in the path of emission-free energy. I think transforming Investor Owned Utilities IOUs into publicly-owned utilities makes a lot of sense. PGE should be owned and operated by the California public. The same is true of the IOUs virtually everywhere. They are slow-walking the transition to cheap-energy which is synonymous with emission-free energy. Their business model precludes IOUs from transitioning and sharing the savings with rate-payers in the form of lower rates. There are grass-roots initiatives with some promise in both Maine and New Mexico for public ownership of electric utilities. Where will the money come from -- the Federal government can provide low-interest loans that will allow purchase of the utilities from their shareholders. Imagine a utiltiy that promises lower rates via a rapid transition to Solar, Electric, and batteries.

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It's going to be very hard to electrify single-family homes. People will not be very sensitive to the relative prices of electricity and fossil fuel heat. Most folks--even homeowners!--are too liquidity constrained to incur an up-front expense of $20,000 to save, say, $2500/year. And that's a good IRR! Maybe the utilities can offer some kind of financing deal.

Heat pumps are a pretty mature product, and I can't see the installation cost plummeting, as it did for solar rooftop. And there is the maintenance issue--fluorocarbon refrigerants are far worse greenhouse gases than CO2, and I can imagine lots of folks finding it cheaper to "fix" a slow leak by topping up the refrigerant.

Still, Dave is right. It gotta be done. But it won't be easy.

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If we are serious about climate change and we wish to reduce emissions from buildings, then we must learn to focus on effectively reducing CO2 emissions and forget about legacy problems like "energy efficiency." What that means is that, in existing buildings, we should focus on only:

1. Replacing furnaces, boilers, and water heaters with heat pumps

2. Installing LED lighting

3. Installing Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR) and Waste Water Heat Recovery (WWHR) systems in at least all multifamily buildings as well as gyms, laundries and other facilities that use large quantities of hot water.

Money and effort spent on retrofitting for weatherization, envelope improvements, triple-glazed windows, etc. can, at best, only reduce, not eliminate, a building's on-site emissions. In areas that require heat, installing heat pumps eliminates almost all on-site emissions in one single step -- no matter how inefficient the building envelope may be. While buildings with heat pumps will still produce secondary emissions, due to legacy fossil fuel generation on the grid, we must recognize that an electrified building benefits from "latent decarbonization" since as the grid becomes cleaner, the secondary emissions from that building will be reduced without any further expense or effort by the building owner. Latent decarbonization is one of the most powerful tools we have. Use it and rely on it.

LED lighting should be pursued since it is a profoundly cost-effective way to increase the efficiency of electricity use today and thus make more electricity available for heat pumps and electric vehicles.

DWHR and WWHR address the fact that up to 20% of a multifamily building's thermal requirement is for domestic hot water. However, that hot water is mostly dumped down the drain immediately after minimal use. Passive DWHR and heat-pump powered WWHR systems extract the heat from water and recycle it for future use. These systems are cheap to install. Passive DWHR systems have no moving parts and thus are essential maintenance free and long-lived.

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I've been saying this for many years:

The three priorities for Climate Policy must be:

1. Decarbonize electricity

2. Adopt Electric Vehicles

3. Replace furnaces with heat pumps.

Do those three things and we've solved most of the problem. Once we've done those things, or are certain that they will be done, we can and should then shift focus to all the other stuff. If we can't do those three things, it won't matter what else we do. Anything that distracts from accomplishing those three things should be rejected.

See this Tweet from Dec 24, 2017 (and many since then): https://twitter.com/bobwyman/status/945012739319238657

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Carbon tax should replace the gas tax with a ramped up carbon capture tax credit

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