City of the Future Examines the Future of Electrification

City of the Future is a bi-weekly podcast from Sidewalk Labs that explores ideas and innovations that will transform cities.

In the fourth episode from season 2, hosts Eric Jaffe and Vanessa Quirk discuss the future of electrification with Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, and Sidewalk Labs’ director of sustainability Charlotte Matthews.

Electricity changed the world in the 20th century, and today the podcast is exploring new ways where electricity can change the world again. In fact, they state that “for the good of the planet, the all-electric home must make a comeback”. In this talk, new ideas are explored that could prepare our cities for a more sustainable future, through the concept of affordable electrification.

© Shutterstock/ By Travis Wolfe

Getting to carbon zero with electricity is possible whereas this is out of the question with fossil fuels. Therefore, Charlotte Matthews, one of the guests, is encouraging investigation in clean, green, electric infrastructure. The guest shares also that “beneficial electrification is electrification for the purposes of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by getting away from fossil fuels”.

On another hand, Gretchen Bakke converses about “the Grid” or the network that leads electricity from a power plant to homes, and argues that “the amount of electricity that’s being produced has to equal the amount of electricity that’s being used”. She also discusses how organizing renewable energies is a must, and how to incorporate them into the system in order to balance the Grid, the production, the demand and meet everyone’s needs.

© Shutterstock/ By Good_Stock

For Charlotte Matthews, affordable electrification builds off the existing term beneficial electrification and is all about eliminating energy waste and then managing the peak demand to keep energy bills down. In fact, she states that the way to do this is by reducing “the heating cooling demands of the buildings by putting in very efficient systems and most importantly, a very efficient envelope”. Actually it’s about designing houses that are really insulated.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "City of the Future Examines the Future of Electrification" 15 Nov 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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