The Zero-Emission Homes Act of 2021 (ZEHA) provides point-of-sale consumer rebates to enable households across America, especially low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, to electrify their homes affordably and seamlessly. ZEHA will support Americans who are looking to save money on their monthly energy bills, create healthier indoor air environments, and reduce their carbon emissions. These rebates will be available for all homes, including rental units, with additional incentives for LMI households and those in underserved or disadvantaged communities.
ZEHA is a voluntary program that enables households to electrify by:
- Equalizing the costs between electric appliances and their alternatives;
- Offering households a seamless point-of-sale rebate up to $14,000; and
- Providing greater incentives for low- and moderate-income households.
This historic legislation continues to garner support in both chambers of Congress. The Senate bill has been introduced by Senator Heinrich (D-NM) and the House bill has been introduced by Representative Tonko (D-NY) and Representative Castor (D-FL). As of August 2021, over 20 lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors.
See the Bringing Infrastructure Home report to explore why Congress should make the American home part of historic infrastructure investment, and the benefits of electrification in each state and Congressional district.
The Zero-Emission Homes Act enables a 10-year rebate program to support households who choose to electrify. Specifically, ZEHA:
- Defines “qualified electrification projects” or “QEPs;”
- QEPs include heat pump hot water heaters, heat pump HVAC systems, electric cooking appliances, electric clothes dryers, and enabling measures such as updated circuit panels and basic weatherization needs.
- Establishes point-of-sale consumer rebates to equalize the upfront costs of QEPs with fossil-fuel alternatives like gas furnaces;
- Provides rebates of up to $14,000 per household, with higher amounts for LMI households;
- Aligns with and goes beyond Justice40, directing 60 percent of funding to households that are LMI, underserved, or in Tribal communities;
- Incentivizes contractors to serve LMI households and those in underserved or Tribal communities;
- Includes provisions specific to the needs of multifamily buildings and rental units;
- To facilitate uptake by consumers, allows rebates to be transferable to third parties, including retailers, contractor companies, utilities, among others;
- Works with other federal, state, and local incentive programs, to provide ease-of-use for a participating household.
Almost all households get cheaper energy bills
At least 85% of households in the United States — 103 million — could save $37.3 billion a year on energy bills if they were using modern, electrified furnaces and water heaters instead of their current machines.
Most households would save an average of $496 per year
The savings are biggest for the 64.9 million households in the United States across every county who are currently using electric resistance, fuel oil, or propane and would save $496 per year on average.
Meaningful savings for low- and moderate-income (LMI) households
Of the households that save, 44% are low- and moderate income. Each year, they would save an average of $377. Many would save up to $493 per year on average.
It’s essential to reaching zero emissions
Furnaces, water heaters, dryers, and stoves account for at least 95% of residential building emissions but are replaced just once every 10-25 years. Unless we choose modern, electrified replacements for these machines, we will continue to need dirty infrastructure to power our homes, never getting to zero emissions.
Hundreds of thousands of new jobs will be created
Electrification would create 462,430 installation jobs in the United States. In addition, it would further generate 80,000 manufacturing jobs and 800,000 indirect and induced jobs.
Cleaner indoor and outdoor air
Electrifying these appliances would address the 42% increased risk of children experiencing asthma symptoms associated with gas stove use. Such indoor pollution disproportionately affects low-income households with smaller homes. Furthermore, outdoor air pollution from residential buildings currently accounts for 15,500 premature deaths in the United States per year.
- Sen. Martin Heinrich
- Sen. Bernard Sanders
- Sen. Cory Booker
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal
- Sen. Tina Smith
- Sen. Brian Schatz
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
- Sen. Chris Murphy
- Sen. Michael Bennet
- Rep. Paul Tonko
- Rep. Kathy Castor
- Rep. Julia Brownley
- Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán
- Rep. Suzanne Bonamici
- Rep. Diana Degette
- Rep. Mike Levin
- Rep. Donald McEachin
- Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester
- Sen. Martin Heinrich
“Electrifying our homes and businesses is one of the surest climate actions that we can take right now. We can use already existing, proven technologies to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, create millions of good-paying jobs, and secure a more equitable future for our communities. The goal of ZEHA is to make the economic, environmental, and health benefits of electrification affordable and accessible to all Americans.”
- Rep. Paul Tonko
"Decarbonizing our homes is one of the key challenges we will face in confronting the climate crisis. But building electrification also offers untapped opportunities to improve energy efficiency, spur innovation and provide homeowners with cleaner alternatives."
- Rep. Kathy Castor
"All Americans deserve to live in homes that are good for their health, their pocketbooks, and the environment. This bill will help millions of families switch to cleaner electric appliances and save money on their utility bills, while also putting Americans to work in every hometown across the country."
- Evergreen Action
Sam Ricketts, Co-Founder
"The Zero-Emission Homes Act announced today by Senator Heinrich (NM) makes an essential investment in our nation’s clean building infrastructure. Clean buildings that are carbon-free, affordable, and climate-ready are essential infrastructure and are a matter of survival for millions of Americans."
Mark Kresowik, Federal Policy Manager
“Senator Heinrich’s proposal recognizes that the buildings where we live and work, and the appliances we use, are critical infrastructure that our nation must invest in to avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption and create healthier, safer, and more affordable homes and businesses."
Lynn Jurich, CEO
"The Zero-Emission Homes Act will turbocharge our efforts to decarbonize millions of homes across America – and will help create millions of good-paying jobs as we electrify everything to fight climate change. Sunrun commends Senator Heinrich for his pioneering and steadfast leadership on the clean energy transition."
- New York Times
Sen. Martin Heinrich
"Our future depends on our acting now to confront the climate crisis by enacting policies to convert our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy. By making this switch, we will also create millions of new jobs, save American households money on their energy bills and protect lives by improving the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces."
Alexander C. Kaufman
"The findings, from a national poll taken between July 7-9, could buoy support for the new legislation Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is set to introduce Thursday that would add rebates for new energy-efficient or zero-carbon appliances and heating systems into the federal spending legislation lawmakers are currently negotiating."
"Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) unveiled an outline for a new bill Wednesday that would help consumers buy electric appliances and equipment to cut down on household emissions. The Zero-Emission Homes Act of 2021 would offer rebates to buy and install electric appliances at prices competitive with fossil fuel-based alternatives."
- House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
July 30, 2021
"Electrification of household appliances would help millions of families save money on their energy bills every month, while creating over a million new jobs in manufacturing, installing, and servicing these new electric appliances."
- Sen. Martin Heinrich
July 15, 2021
"Electrifying our homes and businesses is one of the surest climate actions that we can take right now. We can use already existing, proven technologies to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, create millions of good-paying jobs, and secure a more equitable future for our communities."
- Rewiring America
June 30, 2021
"The Zero-Emission Homes Act of 2021 would provide rebates for the purchase and installation of electric appliances and equipment in single-family homes and multifamily dwellings, with additional support for low- and moderate- income households, who spend a larger share of their income on energy than other households."