Washington, D.C. is a rapidly growing city of just over 700,000 residents. The District is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, with an interim target of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2032. For the city to meet its 2032 interim emissions target, city staff estimate that 20% of buildings must complete a deep energy retrofit that includes high-efficiency electrification.
In 2018, Washington, D.C. was selected as one of 25 cities for the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, becoming part of a set of leading cities working to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change. As part of its participation in the American Cities Climate Challenge, D.C. will be implementing its groundbreaking new building energy performance requirements, accelerating the transition to more sustainable modes of transportation, and continuing its efforts to transition away from fossil fuels toward building electrification.
In 2019, Washington, D.C. has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a technical roadmap for electrifying its buildings and transportation and for minimizing impacts to its energy infrastructure. BEI is also supporting the City to assess the potential impacts of building electrification in low-income communities and begin developing strategies that help protect housing affordability. This includes evaluating options for increasing cost-effectiveness of heat pump installations—for example, by incorporating weatherization and solar—and identifying the best ways to communicate the benefits building electrification to affordable housing stakeholders. BEI is also supporting D.C.’s continued work to create new incentive programs for the more than 9,000 residential buildings that currently use oil, propane, or baseboard electric heating systems in the District, which are more expensive to operate and produce more local emissions than efficient electric alternatives.