KQED: EcoBlock was recently featured on KQED’s podcast, Sold Out: Rethinking Housing in America. Now in its third season, Sold Out delves into the intersection of the climate and housing crises, presenting the stories of families and communities across California and confronting the ways in which the changing climate affects our conceptions of home and our capacity to thrive within them.
Over the past four years, the EcoBlock research team has worked with a group of residents in Oakland to pioneer a blueprint for neighborhood-scale electrification. With homes and businesses being notable greenhouse gas contributors in California—largely due to fossil fuel-powered appliances—there is a critical need to reduce emissions, meet statewide environmental goals, and transition to an all-electric future.
“New construction is easy,” said EcoBlock Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Therese Peffer. “It’s sexy, and it’s fun, but it’s not where the biggest problem is. If we’re going to try to really combat climate change, it is looking at the existing buildings in this country.”
The project has faced its fair share of challenges along the way, including pandemic-related delays, complex regulations, and inflation. Despite these hurdles, EcoBlock has fostered a sense of shared purpose among participating residents, emphasizing the importance of community initiative, timing, and resilience. The project offers a glimpse into the potential of local action in the global fight against climate change, rooted in the belief that community collaboration can lead to meaningful environmental progress.