Report | 2021
Bringing Clean Energy Home
Unlocking Innovation and Policy to Align US Household Energy Use with Ambitious Climate Targets
Over the next decade, we face an opportunity to radically change how energy is produced, delivered, and used across the economy, including within our homes. In the United States, household-level energy decisions drive 40 percent of energy-related carbon emissions. Positioning households to lead on decarbonizing our economy can enable rapid emissions reductions and help improve critical human needs including health, resilience, and equity of access to energy services.
RMI’s report Bringing Clean Energy Home outlines the fundamental shifts that must take place to deliver these benefits and bring residential carbon emissions in line with climate goals.
The report maps out an illustrative pathway for the US residential sector to cut energy-related CO2 emissions 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, in line with economy-wide climate targets. This can be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency, demand-side management, deployment of new carbon-free electricity, deep energy retrofits, and electrification of appliances and vehicles.
Achieving this transformation at the necessary speed and scale will require a catalytic combination of ambitious policy and new solutions that can be adopted by all households. The report examines Google’s Nest Renew as one example of a service that could unlock new opportunities for decarbonizing the residential sector. With features that enable energy efficiency and demand-side management, and support for carbon-free electricity for Premium subscribers, such a service could help to eliminate approximately 5 million tons of CO2 annually for 1 million customers. Over time, a service or product like Nest Renew could drive far greater emissions reductions, both by reaching new customers and by supporting more material household energy decisions, such as undertaking energy retrofits or adopting electric vehicles.
Bringing Clean Energy Home contains key insights for policymakers, utility stakeholders, regulators, technology providers, and individual households seeking to make more informed household energy decisions.