Photo of high prairie with Mt. Adams in background
Two years ago today: One of biggest climate wins in Oregon history
Today is a significant milestone for Oregon’s climate progress, but it requires a little time traveling to the cusp of the pre-COVID times to fully appreciate how far we’ve come.
Clean buildings

Heating and powering our homes and businesses generates a substantial amount of our climate-changing pollution; our built environment is a major contributor to global warming.  If our homes and buildings were carbon-free and energy efficient, we would significantly reduce our climate pollution, drastically cut energy costs for owners and renters, and improve air quality where we live and work. 

For example, in Washington State, emissions from buildings are growing at a faster rate than any other source of carbon pollution, with this increase largely attributable to the use of fossil gas in homes and buildings. Combusting fossil gas in homes and buildings is not only a significant contributor to climate change, but also poses significant health risks for our communities, children, and other vulnerable populations.

Indoor air quality issues are particularly concentrated for low-income residents in smaller units with poor ventilation. Communities of color are already disproportionately impacted by outdoor air pollution, and should not continue to be disproportionately harmed by poor indoor air quality as well. Gas appliances also worsen our outdoor air quality.  For example, California’s residential appliances releasing more than two times as many NOx emissions as all of their gas power plants combined, and commercial gas appliances releasing just as much NOx pollution as all of California’s cars.

Many cities in the region and around the country are increasingly looking at ensuring all new buildings are electric as a key cost-effective pathway for achieving their local or state greenhouse emissions goals. Electrifying buildings is critical to addressing climate change, but it is also achievable, affordable, safe, and creates a more resilient energy system.

We are working with partners to move toward electrifying our buildings for heating, cooling and cooking.  We can also construct homes and buildings that get all their energy from sustainable sources, and even produce as much energy as they use — net zero energy buildings. 

ClimateCast logo above workers installing PVs

Renewable energy employs over 8 million worldwide

SEIU votes to make climate action a priority, California tests zero-net-energy homes, Australian coal CEOs defect to solar and energy efficiency, and more news of the week in climate and clean energy.

Tuning Up Seattle's Buildings

On March 10 Seattle took a key step on its path to be carbon neutral by 2050, when Mayor Ed Murray signed three energ

On the road to net zero energy homes in Oregon?

It's time for Oregon to reclaim a leadership position on building codes and to join the vanguard of states leading the way in pursuit of net zero energy homes and businesses. 

Cities Moving on Clean Energy

American cities are reducing climate pollution by investing in energy efficiency, renewables, grid innovations, and clean transportation. Energy Efficiency

The Urban Clean Energy Revolution

The Urban Clean Energy Revolution report details the state of play of low-carbon cities and describes a rich array of best practices and examples of urban clean energy innovation and carbon reduction.

The Path to Urban Carbon Reduction

The international climate talks are a moment in time for forward-looking urban leaders to demonstrate the collective political will they have amassed for bold climate action, and to show how far they have already come in reducing carbon emissions.

A Stronger Energy Code to Cut Carbon

A package of hugely important changes to Washington State codes are needed to make buildings more energy efficient and ready for solar and electric vehicle charging.

Carbon Reduction Know-How

In the early days of climate action, urban plans to reduce carbon frequently suffered from the laundry list syndrome: cataloguing potential strategies without any evidence of how they would meet long-term goals. Since then, cities and counties have become more sophisticated about cutting carbon, and are developing clean energy transition plans to do it.

The Silent Hero: breaking down barriers to energy efficiency

Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson once named energy efficiency the “silent hero” in the climate crisis. Republican Governor Butch Otter of Idaho called efficiency the “low hanging fruit in the energy orchard.” We know that a key way to reduce our climate pollution is to reduce our energy demand. By reducing energy use, we also save money on our utility bills. So why are there still barriers to homeowners embracing deep energy efficiency? 

Lowering utility bills while creating jobs—now that's efficient

“Every watt saved by energy efficiency measures helps create living-wage jobs,” says Stephanie Pitts of McKinstry, the latest business recipient of the BlueGreen Alliance's "Right Stuff" award.

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row of homes with red text overlay "healthy and safe buildings"

Pollution is coming… from inside the house

Washington and Oregon can do better to protect residents by creating clean, safe, all-electric buildings. In this second part of our blog series on all-electric buildings, we outline the health and safety risks of using gas, and detail how all-electric buildings can be the climate and health solution we need.
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