Our homes, workplaces, and other buildings are often the foundations of our sense of comfort and community—they are also foundational to climate action. A recent analysis from GridLab, NRDC, and Sierra Club illustrates the extent to which Colorado must phase down carbon emissions from homes and other buildings in order to meet its climate goals. At the same time, it’s critical we expand our focus beyond simply reduced emissions. Colorado policymakers must embrace equitable, transformative housing and building policies in order to appropriately respond to and prepare for the increasing unaffordability, displacement, and health impacts of the climate crisis.
Colorado leaders should take advantage of a transitioning building sector to invest in healthier infrastructure for the state and help all Coloradans fully transition to a clean energy economy. For many, buildings are the closest relationship we have with our energy use and climate impacts. Buildings are the main sources of our energy expenses and the structures we depend on to keep us safe during climate-intensified heat waves, cold snaps, storms, and pollution. Buildings have also been a wealth generation tool at the heart of racial and economic inequity in this country. Efficient all-electric buildings are a proven, least-cost tool for eliminating carbon emissions from buildings, but they are only as effective to the extent we can make them accessible. If low-income communities and communities of color are unable to afford them, we will not reach our climate goals and we will leave those communities to pay for the aging gas infrastructure left behind. Policymakers have an opportunity to build sector policy that gets at the interlocking crises facing Coloradans which will be key to achieving sustained progress against climate change for all.
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