News Brief

A Building Electrification Roadmap to Promote Decarbonization

Every major end use for fossil fuels in buildings is ready to be electrified, according to a report from the New Buildings Institute.

cover of Building Electrification Technology Roadmap

Although focused on California, the analysis is applicable across North America.

Image: New Buildings Institute
Building electrification is a great idea to promote decarbonization, but is the industry ready for it? The Building Electrification Technology Roadmap from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) suggests the answer is yes.

The report examines the status of 38 different technologies for residential, commercial, and institutional applications. Although its focus is on California, the report assesses technology availability throughout North America for the following end uses:

  • Space heating—Heat pumps are a mature technology, well known and widely available. Roadblocks include cold-climate underperformance.
  • Water heating—Heat-pump water heaters are widely available for some applications. Barriers include the difficulty of retrofit installations.
  • Cooking—Induction appliances are viable and available for both residential and commercial kitchens. The major sticking point is the consumer and chef preference for gas.
  • Clothes drying—Both heat-pump and condensing dryers are available for residential use, but commercial products lag.

Given its emphasis on heat pumps, the report addresses the issue of current refrigerants, which have high global warming potential (GWP). “Despite these challenges, moving from gas technology to heat pumps containing HFC refrigerants remains a smart and critical step toward building electrification and decarbonization,” the report authors claim. This is because emissions from heat pumps can be less than those from combustion technologies. “As more mid-to-low-GWP products become available, heat pumps will become even more attractive.”

More on building electrification

Can Commercial Kitchens Go Electric?

Meet the People Preparing to Amp Up Building Electrification

Get to Know Your Grid

For more information:

New Buildings Institute

Published March 1, 2021

Melton, P. (2021, February 17). A Building Electrification Roadmap to Promote Decarbonization. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.