Pass the Healthy Homes Act:
For Clean, Green Justice in the District
It’s time to #ElectrifyEverything! In Washington, DC, buildings are the main driver of citywide emisisons (72%)! This comes in part from using fossil fuels to cook, heat water, and keep our buildings warm in the winter.
Luckily, the DC Council aims to change this. On February 2, DC Councilmember Charles Allen and seven others introduced the “Healthy Homes and Residential Electrification Amendment Act of 2023.” This is a great bill that would support allow up to 30,000 low- and moderate-income households to remove harmful methane burning appliances from their homes.
Passage of the Healthy Homes Act would be the biggest climate justice action ever in the District, helping low-income residents improve their health, save on bills, and create a sustainable future. Tell DC Council that YOU support the Healthy Homes Act!
What the Bill Does: Help Low- and Moderate-Income Households Go Electric
The bill establishes the Healthy Homes Program, requiring the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to provide residential electrification retrofits to at least 5,000 low-income homes by the end of 2025; a total of 10,000 by the end of 2030; a total of 20,000 by the end of 2035; and a total of 30,000 by the end of 2040.
If funds are available, it will help DC households above the income limits retrofit as well.
And reach out to email@example.com if you’d like to get involved in upcoming hearings.
What’s a “Residential Electrification Retrofit”?
A “residential electrification retrofit” is defined as replacement of all appliances or other systems, such as an oven, water heater, or heating system, that combust fossil fuels on site with appliances or other systems that perform the same function and that are powered exclusively by electricity.
DOEE will be required to partner with a nonprofit to provide training and education related to the provision of residential electrification retrofits to businesses and individuals, and must reduce or eliminate the cost of training and education to maximize participation of equity impact enterprises and provide jobs to DC residents.
The agency will have to come up with a plan for implementation by January 1, 2024.
What Else Will the Bill Do?
It will add members to the Green Building Advisory Council to oversee equitable implementation. It will also institute a new surcharge for new buildings (excluding restaurants) that combust fossil fuels, and prohibit installation of fossil fuel combustion appliances when it does a public housing improvement project under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program.
Building on Previous Successes
In 2018, the DC Council passed the Clean Energy DC Act, which transitions DC to 100% clean electricity by 2032, while investing in energy efficiency, creating groundbreaking building standards, and funding local programs to help low-income residents and make the city a sustainable place to live.
In 2022, the Council passed two bills that enshrine D.C.’s carbon neutrality target into law and set limits on the use of natural gas in new buildings. These bills for the first time mandate that all new and substantially renovated buildings in the city be powered by 100% carbon-free energy (with the exception of low-rise residential structures). This sets in motion a phase out of methane gas use across much of the nation’s capital.
But how will we get to those goals? The Healthy Homes Act sets out a real plan to get DC on the pathway to carbon neutrality in its buildings.
What Comes Next?
Three DC Council committee held a joint legislative hearing on May 9th. Several dozen people testified, all in favor. The hearing created huge momentum for the bill. See CCAN’s hearing statement HERE.
The three committees are likely to consider some changes to the bill before “marking-up” the bill and sending it to the full Council for consideration. We expect that the Council will take up the bill shortly after Labor Day. In the meantime, the Council needs to keep hearing from advocates. Click here to send your message of support.