The Senate Economics References Committee is conducting an inquiry into residential electrification.

Upgrading residential buildings will help Australia develop a clean energy grid and ultimately achieve net zero emissions.

It is encouraging that residential electrification is becoming a national priority as a part of efforts to decarbonise the building sector.

Efficient electrification also brings with it numerous co-benefits.

For households, electrification will help to alleviate energy poverty, protect households from energy price spikes, and improve household comfort and occupant health.

Benefits also extend to the societal level, including decreased health system costs through improved occupant health associated with less gas use in the home.

For electrification to be cost-effective and maximise the benefits to households, it should be undertaken in parallel with improvements to home energy performance.

Most of Australia’s existing homes require significant upgrades to their thermal shell to reduce energy use, emissions, and meet a standard for zero carbon.

Homes with better energy performance can also be flexible about when energy is used, reducing peak energy use.

Thermal shell upgrades bring the additional benefit of minimising the increase in energy demand otherwise expected from electrification, thereby reducing the need for additional grid infrastructure and the associated costs.