On KALW: EcoBlock offers electrification lessons

Residential street intersection in San Francisco with crosswalk, colorful multistory houses, and power lines.

As homeowners across the Bay Area seek to electrify their homes, the Oakland EcoBlock project has offered a number of lessons.

Therese Peffer, the associate director of the California Institute for Energy and Environment, a researcher with CITRIS Climate, and EcoBlock’s principal investigator, puts emphasis on the active involvement of participants required for the endeavor, which aims to retrofit an entire city block in an East Oakland neighborhood with energy efficient appliances. For Peffer, EcoBlock has been an exercise in gaining homeowners’ trust, as she works to demystify the electrification process and address their concerns.

She hopes that more neighborhoods take EcoBlock’s cue to band together for energy upgrades, a move that will make the learning process easier for everyone and give them more sway with contractors and companies.

“If you don’t know anyone with a heat pump or if you don’t know anyone who’s ever had solar, you can’t ask them. And so the idea about going into a neighborhood, you’re starting to get those conversations happening,” says Peffer.

Read more from KALW Public Media.