FAQs - The REPLACE Concept 

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Is the REPLACE concept only for people who have a lot of money?

There will be some of us who can Replace something in our lives immediately. The rest of us will have to wait until we need a new car, a new water heater or a new furnace. With 17 million cars, 8.5 million water heaters and 6 million furnaces sold annually, we know consumers are faced with these decisions regularly. We want people to know these options exist, and the impact of their choices before they are faced with a purchasing decision.

What if I can’t REPLACE right now, or if I don’t own a car or house?

Some of us may not be able to take these REPLACE actions now, or maybe we rent an apartment for instance, or don’t own a car. When we are trying to change to something as complex as our energy systems, one of the most important tools we have is good information on HOW to change the system. So, you can still be very influential by sharing the REPLACE concept with others - your friends and family. The more people that are aware of this information, the more people will make good decisions when they are faced with a purchase like a new car or when their hot water heater fails and they need a new one. Share this website, talk to your friends about heat pumps and green energy plans and electric cars - you never know who you might influence!

Wouldn’t it be better to wait until the grid gets even cleaner to REPLACE?

Replacing today makes an immediate positive difference by eliminating sources of emissions and replacing them with electric energy so that is undoubtedly the best option. As the electric grid gets cleaner, all the devices we power with the grid get cleaner too. A new car or water heater or furnace will serve us for 5 to 10 to 15+ years from now. Over that time, the grid will get cleaner and cleaner which means that todays REPLACE action will deliver more total emissions reductions every year. And unlike many of the one-off purchasing decisions we make that affect our carbon footprint (Should I take a plane flight? Eat this hamburger? Buy these socks?) these purchases will continue to provide overall emissions reductions over the life of the product - for years to come. So it is best to take these actions as soon as you can to accelerate the transition and avoid additional accumulation of emissions.

Isn’t it bad to replace something that still has a useful life?

Generally it is true that holding on to things that are still useful is better than replacing them, and that would be true for things like furniture or clothing. But in this case we are talking about eliminating a source of emissions by replacing it with something that does not emit carbon. For the products we are discussing - cars, waterheaters, furnaces - the emissions they produce during operation are many many times larger than the emissions it took to produce them. Manufacturing related emissions for cars for example are typically less than 10% of the total emissions related to the operation of the vehicle over its lifetime. So, it is much better to replace a product which is a source of emissions with a product that does not emit, and the sooner the better.

Climate change is so complicated and confusing! Will this really help?

Clean electricity plus “the electrification of everything” will deliver the necessary system change that will accelerate the world to a clean energy future. Your REPLACE action is part of the start to the end of the Oil Age. As more people take these actions, they become the new norm, products get cheaper and more available, and the systems change reaches a tipping point that accelerates the pace of transition. You can be a part of making that happen by embracing these solutions now.

Climate change is a global problem - what if people don’t do this in other countries?

The trends that make REPLACE actions effective and affordable - the dramatic drop in the cost of renewable energy, the developments in battery technology, electric motors and heat pump technology - are all global trends. These solutions are attractive all over the world and in some cases the USA is acting more slowly to embrace them than other countries. By making the transition to a clean energy system, the USA is demonstrating that it can be done and that it delivers real tangible benefits to both consumers and the environment. This will make it even more likely that other nations will follow.