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Accelerating Electrification of California’s Multifamily Buildings

This report provides policy context and functional technical information to accelerate the electrification of California’s existing multifamily buildings. Accelerating Electrification of California’s Multifamily Buildings is a deliverable for the Accelerating Multifamily Building Upgrades project and was funded by the California Energy Commission’s Local Government Challenge grant.

By Jack Aitchison, Nick Dirr, and Aubrey Dority (Association for Energy Affordability) and Ben Cooper (StopWaste)

Published by StopWaste
May 2021

This content is provided by a partner organization and may not represent the views of Sonoma Clean Power or its employees.

Topics covered in this report:

  • Reviews the historical and policy context for multifamily building electrification.
  • Addresses the significant carbon reduction and non-energy benefits of electrification.
  • Addresses policy, social and economic challenges to converting existing multifamily buildings to all-electric.
  • Provides a foundation for understanding the current conditions, considerations, processes and tradeoffs in implementing cost-efficient electrification retrofits in multifamily buildings.
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Overview

The report provides policy context (Part 1) and functional technical information (Part 2) to accelerate the electrification of California’s existing multifamily buildings.

Part 1: The Value Proposition of Electrification in Multifamily Housing, reviews the historical and policy context for multifamily building electrification, addresses the significant carbon reduction and non-energy benefits of electrification and addresses policy, social and economic challenges to converting existing multifamily buildings to all-electric. Part 1 is primarily intended for policymakers, program designers and implementers, funders, and others interested in deepening their understanding of the value—and complexity—of electrifying this building sector.

Part 2: Technical Considerations for the Electrification of Multifamily Buildings, provides a foundation for understanding the current conditions, considerations, processes, and tradeoffs in implementing cost-efficient electrification retrofits in multifamily buildings. This information draws on data and experience from more than 30,000 multifamily units that participated in various building upgrade programs in California, including BayREN Multifamily, California Department of Community Services’ Low-Income Weatherization Program (CSD LIWP), and others.

Making generalizations about electrification is challenging because of the diversity of multifamily buildings and system types. While energy auditors and contractors will face unique conditions during the electrification of specific buildings, Part 2 aims to provide a general framework for deciding if electrification is feasible, and if so, how to achieve it in a cost-efficient manner using available and emerging technologies.

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