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“DC Council Unanimously Approves Councilmember Allen’s Healthy Homes Bill, Setting Goal to Upgrade 30,000 Homes to Electric”


photo by Victoria Pickering

From the office of Councilmember Charles Allen:

“The DC Council unanimously approved Councilmember Charles Allen’s Healthy Homes bill that sets DC on a course to replace fossil-fuel powered appliances and home heat with electric appliances in the homes of 30,000 low- and moderate-income DC residents by 2040. The bill marks an ambitious undertaking to address a key source of both carbon output and in-home air quality issues.

“The transition to a future that is all-electric, sourcing power from solar panels and wind and other renewables, is happening right in front of us. Powering your daily household activities with renewables is a great way to save money and breathe cleaner air. But for many residents, swapping out gas for electric is an expense they can’t take on even if it is an urgent change we need to make broadly,” said Councilmember Allen, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. “As we make that transition, which we must, this is how we do it without leaving anyone behind.”

Councilmember Allen added, “This is a voluntary program that would cover the cost of replacement and any needed construction costs associated with safe installation and operation. No one from the government is coming to take your gas stove unless you ask them to.”

Funding and Cost Per Retrofit

The bill was pre-funded by the Council in last year’s budget as an approved use of the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund, under the Department of Energy and the Environment. The amount of funding available to households is scaled based on their income, with the most generous amounts for lower-income households. The cost of full electrification for a single-family home can run upwards of $30,000 if that includes heat pumps as well as smaller appliances.

Burning Gas Indoors Affects Air Quality

“The data is compelling that natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, is contributing significantly to air pollution inside our homes – a Rocky Mountain Institute study found children growing up in a home with a gas stove are at a 42% higher risk to develop asthma symptoms,” said Councilmember Allen. “Add to that the District’s ambitious goals to go carbon-neutral. People forget there are also enormous emissions in extracting the gas and transporting it. This bill is a direct, doable plan to reach our climate goals. Our local strategy to mitigate climate change is simple: electrify everything we can in our daily lives and start drawing from our rapidly growing renewable portfolio.”

Electrification Efforts Mean More Local Jobs

The bill also puts in place mandates on reporting and job training to ensure we have enough contractors and people who can do this work. Councilmember Allen added, “Taking action on climate isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a jobs program that creates and supports well-paying careers for DC residents. The rest of the country is moving fast to create jobs of the future, and DC has to catch up. Electrification represents an enormous opportunity to create new, sustainable jobs.”

As a reminder, in the FY24 budget, Councilmember Allen led the Council to fund a $2 million pilot program to begin gas-to-electric conversions in the River Terrace and Deanwood neighborhoods in Ward 7.

The Legislative History of the Healthy Homes and Residential Electrification Amendment Act of 2024:

Introduction: February 2, 2023

Public Hearing: May 9, 2023

Committee on Transportation and the Environment Vote: March 4, 2024

Committee of the Whole Vote: March 19, 2024”

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