Equitable Rural Building Decarbonization

Washington State aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and pace that the climate crisis requires

The Clean Energy Transition Institute and our partners were privileged to have been chosen to provide technical assistance to the Washington State Department of Commerce in developing and designing the state’s 2021 State Energy Strategy.
Washington State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets
below 1990 levels by 2030
below 1990 levels by 2040
below 1990 levels, with net zero emissions by 2050

Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy and Supporting Materials

This project enabled us to develop a wealth of information about specific policies and actions required to decarbonize the building, transportation, electricity, and industrial sectors in the next decade and beyond, not only in Washington, but across the Northwest.

Technical Advisory Process

From March-December 2020 the CETI Team provided technical analysis to the Washington State Department of Commerce in support of a suite of policies and actions designed to meet Washington’s greenhouse gas targets and achieve decarbonization in the state.
The technical consulting included:
Conducting a meta-analysis of existing energy studies and strategies and an inventory of existing Washington policies, programs, regulations, investments, and tools
Facilitating a technical advisory process to inform the Advisory Committee’s advice and recommendations
Performing decarbonization and modeling and analysis, building on existing efforts and guided by the technical advisory process and Advisory Committee deliberations
Working with Commerce to create communication materials, including the design and preparation of a final report and supporting documents to launch the final 2021 State Energy Strategy
Technical Analysis and Strategy Design Consultants

The Clean Energy Transition Institute facilitated the technical advisory process, design, and production of the Washington State 2021 Energy Strategy from March to December with the following consultants:

Clean Energy Transition Institute

Aditi Bansal, Policy and Research Analyst
Marc Daudon, Senior Fellow
Nicole Larson, Research Assistant
David Paolella, Policy and Research Analyst
Eileen V. Quigley, Executive Director

Evolved Energy Research

Jeremy Hargreaves, Principal

Hammerschlag, LLC

Roel Hammerschlag, Principal

Inclusive Economics

Betony Jones, Founder

One Visual Mind

Karen Beck, Partner
Carol Maglitta
, Partner

Stockholm Environment Institute

Derik Broekhoff, Senior Scientist
Michael Lazarus
, U.S. Center Director

2050 Institute

Poppy Storm, Founder and Director of Innovation

About the Project

Washingtonians enjoy some of the lowest cost electricity in the country due to an abundance of hydropower. Yet nearly 750,000 Washington households spend an excessive percentage of household income on home energy.

The purpose of the Equitable Rural Buildings Decarbonization project is to understand the barriers to equitably decarbonizing buildings that low-income, energy-burdened households and renters in Washington’s rural counties encounter. (Households for whom home energy costs exceed 6% of household income are considered energy burdened.) The goal is to suggest opportunities for addressing inequity in rural communities throughout the state.

Low- and moderate-income households spend the largest percentage of their income on energy, making their energy burden three times higher than the rest of the population in the state. Poor construction and maintenance, lower rent prices in older housing stocks, and renters’ lack of control over energy bills and improvements mean that these residents pay higher utility costs per square foot.

The project involves qualitative and quantitative research to develop a clear picture of the opportunities and challenges of decarbonizing buildings in rural Washington. The findings will be synthesized and used to develop a pilot project aimed at addressing the barriers that the research uncovers.

Early in 2021, CETI staff conducted 26 interviews with rural community leaders and experts in rural weatherization and strategies to address low and moderate-income housing needs. This work complemented the technical analysis that the CETI performed throughout 2020 in support of the Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy and in particular Chapter D on Building Decarbonization.

The Equitable Rural Building Decarbonization project aims to advance decarbonization strategies for rural communities whose challenges are different than those of urban dwellers and may be overlooked by policymakers not based in rural areas.

Desired Project Outcomes

The Equitable Building Decarbonization project reveals barriers to reducing carbon emissions from rural buildings equitably in the Northwest. The work results in specific policy recommendations.

Washington State Industrial Emissions Analysis Documents:

Oregon Clean Energy Pathways Analysis Documents:

2021 WA State Energy Strategy Presentations

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