Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the publicly owned utility in California’s capital city, has changed its energy-efficiency metric from avoided electricity consumption to avoided carbon dioxide emissions. SMUD is the first utility in the country to count avoided carbon emissions from the existing building stock as part of its progress on energy efficiency. This makes building electrification central to SMUD’s energy-efficiency efforts. The switch to “avoided carbon” is part of SMUD’s ambitious effort to accelerate the decarbonization of its existing building stock.
Measuring energy efficiency in terms of avoided CO2 emissions could be an effective way to incentivize utilities with decarbonization targets to adopt building electrification, provided that those utilities are also greening their power supply.