Maryland state leaders should prioritize low-income households as they pull together $2 billion in state and federal funding to leave no household behind as Maryland goes electric
BALTIMORE, MD— The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), along with partners RMI, Earthjustice, and Sierra Club Maryland today published a report on how Maryland can electrify its housing sector, and notably, set a national trend by focusing on electrifying low-income households by 2030 to ensure no families are left behind.
The report, Charting A Pathway to Maryland’s Equitable Clean Energy Future: Electrification and Building Upgrades for Low-income Residences, highlights Maryland’s new era of climate leadership and maps a plan to electrify its building sector with four key policy proposals to electrify low-income households that might otherwise be the last to benefit from this key clean energy and clean air transition.
“This report articulates a clear and achievable pathway to equitable residential electrification that prioritizes the needs of low-income households and historically disinvested communities,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI). “By aligning, braiding, and coordinating the multiple funding streams and programs identified in the report, we have an opportunity to significantly improve the health and wealth of hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents and ensure our state’s future climate-related investments help catalyze racial and environmental justice.”
Maryland’s existing housing assistance and energy policies are disparate and uncoordinated, leaving the state’s 450,000 low-income residents underserved and leaving key climate opportunities on the table. These households are also likely to face housing challenges, such as deferment of weatherization and wiring upgrades, health and safety issues like lead paint or mold, and landlords’ limited incentives to upgrade their properties (60% of low-income Marylanders are renters).
“When it comes to our homes where so much of our daily lives play out, every Marylander deserves a modern upgrade and clean air with healthy electric appliances,” said Susan Stevens Miller, a senior attorney on Earthjustice Right to Zero Campaign in the DMV. “It’s time to build an electric future for households in Maryland at every income level, using the incredible $2 billion available in federal and state funding streams to do so.”
The report outlines four innovative steps Maryland can take to ensure every household is included as the state electrifies its homes. First, Maryland should prioritize electrifying and weatherizing residences with low incomes by 2030. Maryland should also launch a whole-home retrofit program providing weatherization services like improved insulation, roof repairs, wiring fixes, and energy bill assistance to complement electrification. Other steps include combining the $2 billion available in state and federal resources to speed up Maryland’s climate actions, and long-term utility planning to decommission the gas distribution system.
“Maryland has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the climate crisis and bring health, safety, and economic benefits to nearly half a million low-income households,” said Ashita Gona, Senior Associate on RMI’s Carbon-free Buildings Team. “RMI is proud to partner with Earthjustice, GHHI, and Sierra Club on this report, which explains how Maryland can use recent and unique funding streams, including the Inflation Reduction Act, to kickstart a whole-home retrofit program that will improve living conditions, alleviate energy burdens, and provide clean electric appliances for low-income Marylanders.”
“It is critical that Maryland marshal all available resources to enable low- and moderate-income communities to benefit from cleaner, efficient, climate-friendly electricity and healthier homes.” Josh Tulkin, State Director of Sierra Club Maryland.
For more information, contact: Beth Bingham, email@example.com, 443-692-8317
About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health and the advancement of racial and health equity through the creation of healthy, safe, and energy efficient homes. By delivering a standard of excellence in its work, GHHI aims to eradicate the negative health impacts of unhealthy housing and unjust policies for children, seniors, and families to ensure better health, economic, and social outcomes for low-income communities of color. As the nation’s leading healthy housing organization, GHHI provides evidence-based direct services, policy support, and technical assistance to partners across the country on innovative financing and integrated health, housing and energy models.
RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.
About Sierra Club Maryland
Sierra Club is the largest and most enduring grassroots environmental advocacy organization in the nation. The Maryland Chapter has over 70,000 members and supporters. It currently focuses its Maryland efforts on climate change, clean energy, preserving natural places, clean transportation, recycling and environmental justice. We support local service and nature outings, educate the public on the myriad pressing issues stemming from the climate emergency, plastic pollution crisis and collapse of biodiversity. We advocate for bold systemic changes at the local and state level for a just and equitable transition from dirty fossil fuels to 100% Clean Renewable Energy, Zero Waste, and Clean Transportation for all while protecting our air, water, land & wildlife for future generations!