Opportunities and Barriers to Residential Decarbonization in Addison County

In June of 2022, the Climate Economy Action Center of Addison County (CEAC) published their Climate Action Plan (CAP). The CAP provides a roadmap for how the Addison County community might address climate change at the local level. Based on the goals established at the state level by the Global Warming Solutions Act, as well as Addison County’s baseline contributions to statewide emissions, CEAC’s CAP is designed with this goal in mind: to reduce community-wide GHG emissions by 50% below 2017 levels by 2030.

A major factor in meeting this goal will revolve around reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use in Addison County homes and residential buildings. This project revolves around gauging opportunities and barriers for implementing Strategy BE 1 from the CAP: “Increase the proportion of existing residential and commercial and industrial buildings that are 100% electrified (with no on-site fossil fuel combustion except as emergency backup) to 50% by 2030. There are currently 17,000 houses in Addison County; CEAC’s short term goal is to install about 6,700 electric heat pumps and weatherize 5,000 homes by 2030.

Working with Jean Terwilliger, a CEAC board member and local architect, we conducted surveys over phone and email with contractors and auditors based in Addison County to understand what kind of residential decarbonization and electrification is already being done, in which communities this work is and is not taking place, and what barriers these individuals are facing in providing these crucial electrification and decarbonization efforts throughout Addison County.

Our findings from our survey results and conversations with contractors suggest that: (1) electrification service is happening but is not evenly distributed throughout the county and, (2) some key barriers that contractors are facing to expanding electrification and weatherization services is a lack of available, trained labor and the higher costs of ‘greener’ weatherization/electrification supplies for homeowners and contractors.

These findings, as well as our research into other local residential decarbonization efforts, inform our recommendations to CEAC for how and where to pursue homeowner outreach in the future, and how to support contractor labor supply going forward.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s