A new report published by Rewiring America concludes that if everybody in the U.S. switched to solar, wind or other clean energy power, not only could the country reach zero emissions, but households would save an average of $1,050 to $2,585 annually on bills. This adds up to about $321 billion savings per year.
The report, No Place Like Home: Fighting Climate Change (And Saving Money) by Electrifying America’s Households, found that more than 40% of U.S. energy-related carbon emissions come from normal household activities like cooking, bathing and commuting. The way forward, according to the report, is decarbonizing households through electrification. This means driving electric cars that we charge via our rooftop solar panels. Instead of powering appliances with natural gas, the report promotes electricity to power heat pumps, stoves and clothes dryers.
“Too often we are told doing the right thing for the environment requires sacrifice and costs more,” Adam Zurofsky, executive director of Rewiring America, told The Guardian. “But no one is talking about the upside — we can actually make a better economy and save people money and a byproduct will be to cut emissions from residential buildings.”
This optimistic attitude nicely coincides with an analysis recently released by financial giant Lazard. In Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis Version 14.0, the firm concluded that wind and solar are the most affordable electricity sources. Building new solar plants is less expensive than keeping existing coal plants running.
Of course, the upfront cost is the hitch for individual households. A larger-scale infrastructure will be necessary for all those solar panels, car chargers and batteries to work together. And it all has to happen pretty soon, before humans render the planet uninhabitable for their own species. That’s going to require government help. According to Zurofsky, “The federal government can make it dirt cheap for people to switch to renewables.” Now we have to make sure they do. Which reminds us, please vote.
Image via Charlie Wilde