Apr 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Appliance electrification a growing divide between renters and homeowners

The homeowner-renter gap in electric equipment
Data: Energy Institute at Haas, UC Berkeley; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. renters are more likely than homeowners to have electric heat and key appliances, new research from a UC-Berkeley expert shows.

Why it matters: Expanding electrification, paired with an increasingly low-carbon power grid, can be a tool against global warming.

  • Understanding this gap "has important implications for an emerging set of policies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions through electrification," Lucas Davis writes for Berkeley's Energy Institute at Haas.

The intrigue: His post notes that this gap flips the script on other carbon-relevant renter-owner divides.

  • The business professor notes homeowners tend to have more efficient appliances, better insulation and more efficient lighting.
  • That's because landlords have less incentive to invest in efficiency upgrades when it's tenants who pay the power bills.

The big question: Why is electrification different? Davis' post on the research argues it's the other side of the same coin for landlords.

  • "Electric resistance heating is cheaper to install than a natural gas furnace. Similarly, electric stoves and electric dryers tend to be cheaper to buy and easier to install than natural gas."

Read the whole post

Go deeper