Happy family in their new home

Report | 2021

Decarbonizing Homes

Improving Health in Low-Income Communities through Beneficial Electrification

By Yu Ann TanBomee Jung
Download the report below

In the United States today, 26 million low-income households burn costly, health-damaging, and climate-disrupting fossil fuels inside their homes. Communities of color are disproportionately overburdened by pollution from burning fossil fuels, as well as energy costs and poor housing quality. This is due in part to structural racism throughout our housing and economic systems. Many of these communities are also highly vulnerable to the extreme weather events brought on by climate change. They lack comparable access to cooling and resilient infrastructure, as well as the financial means to relocate.

In order to meet the country’s climate goals and protect public health, we need to retrofit these homes through “beneficial electrification.” This report, Decarbonizing Homes: Improving Health in Low-Income Communities through Beneficial Electrification, presents a holistic approach to electrifying housing in low-income communities. This approach will lower housing cost burdens, improve housing quality to create a safe and healthful indoor environment, reduce climate pollution, and enable buildings to more easily manage electricity demand. State and local governments can help deliver these benefits through bold action, particularly as the federal government considers investing hundreds of billions of dollars to help out.

This report is intended for experts in several areas of practice—public health, housing policy, building science, and utility regulation— to help bridge knowledge gaps.

Read our blog about Investing in Healthier Low-Income Housing.

Click the “Download” button above for a PDF of the full report. The infographics below can also be downloaded.


Beneficial Electrification of Housing
Beneficial Electrification of housing
Source: https://rmi.org/insight/decarbonizing-homes/


Overview of Health Harms from Exposure to Pollutants from Fossil Fuel Combustion
Overview of health harms from exposure of pollutants from fossil fuel combustionSource: https://rmi.org/insight/decarbonizing-homes/


Why Low-Income Communities Need Beneficial Electrification
Why low-income communities need beneficial electrificationSource: https://rmi.org/insight/decarbonizing-homes/


Primary Heating Source for Low-Income Residential Dwelling Units
Primary heating source for low-income residential dwelling unitsSource: https://rmi.org/insight/decarbonizing-homes/