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The BPA National Conference – How Was Nashville?

Nashville sign

In April 2022, the Building Performance Association held its annual National Conference. For the past few years, the planners had to build a contingency for providing the content virtually due to travel restrictions and the global pandemic. This year was no exception, as travel restrictions threatened to make this yet another online event. The good news is this year, the conference was held in person for the first time since 2019.

We attended the conference in Nashville, our first in-person industry gathering, in quite some time. The following blog provides a perspective on attendance, the conference and educational sessions, and Nashville.

We attended the conference in Nashville, our first in-person industry gathering, in quite some time. The following blog provides a perspective on attendance, the conference and educational sessions, and Nashville.

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Still Think Gas Stoves Are Best for Cooking? Think Again

Side view, close-up gas stove flame

For years, professional chefs have touted the benefits of natural gas stovetops for cooking. Gas burns clean, burners heat up instantly, and temperature is easy to regulate. High-end kitchens have been combining gas cooktops with electric ovens for years.  Lately, though, a plethora of studies and news stories have warned us that cooking with natural…

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A Perspective on TECH Clean California Incentives

Computer Keyboard with Apply Now key

If you are a contractor in California, you have likely heard about the new Technology and Equipment for Clean Heating (TECH) incentive program. Funded by proceeds from gas corporations’ greenhouse gas allowances (cap and trade revenues), TECH aims to promote the adoption of near-zero-emissions space and water heating (heat pumps) in existing single and multifamily…

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Do You Really Need to Upgrade Your Service Panel to Electrify Your Home?

Picture a common scenario you have likely encountered in home electrification retrofits…a homeowner considering the switch to an electric heat pump water heater or space heater and faced with the likelihood of an expensive panel upgrade. 

The one hundred amps capability found in most older homes generally isn’t enough power to support an all-electric home. But replacing the electric service panel can cost $3,500 to $6,000. And potential costs can skyrocket if electricity is delivered underground to the home. 

But this expensive panel upgrade may not be needed. Here are some alternatives you may not have considered…

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Is there a better way to access clean electricity than through the existing grid?

renewable energy

Electrification continues to get traction nationwide. Many are concerned about the impacts of adding electrical devices, like electric cars, to the grid. Naysayers claim this will only lead to more blackouts and wildfires. In the short term, there might be some truth to this.
Often people fail to recognize that as we move to an electric future, the electrical distribution grid will need to change. As more renewable generation sources come online, managing loads and storage will be crucial. Perhaps it’s time to consider the structure of the distribution grid itself. Is there be a better way to distribute and share electricity?

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Spend a Bit More Now to Save Loads Later

goal action plan sign

Heating and cooling replacements are often done upon failure. When this happens, the primary concern is to restore service, leading to decisions that have long-term impacts.

Here are a couple of things you should ask yourself.
1. Are you sacrificing long-term benefits for short-term results?
2. Is my contractor reacting to the situation or providing the best solution?
3. If contractors were responsible for paying your energy bills, would their suggestions be the same?

Creating a plan that accounts for the age of your equipment and its eventual failure might be the smartest thing you ever do.

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What’s with all the natural gas bans in California?

Methane plume

In Dec. 2019, the city of Berkeley adopted a reach code that placed a ban on natural gas in new construction. Since that time, forty-nine other cities and counties in California have done the same thing. Natural gas has long been promoted as the cleanest fossil fuel option. The state of California relies heavily on natural gas for heating water and space heating in buildings. If natural gas is the clean alternative, why are municipalities banning its use?

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How to Deal with Emergency Replacements and Still Support Electrification

Clocks

One of the biggest challenges for residential decarbonization is the emergency replacement of appliances. While many people could be convinced of the benefits of electrifying their heating or cooking given enough time, when devices fail, most people want to restore service as soon as possible. Usually, that means replacing the failed device with something similar.…

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What’s the Deal with Contractors and Heat Pumps?

heat pump outdoor unit

Electric heat pumps for space heating are getting a lot of attention these days, and with good reason. Heat pumps are a readily available alternative to gas furnaces. They are more efficient and perform as well or better than gas alternatives and yet contractors are reluctant embrace this proven technology. What is it about heat pump HVAC systems that is limiting widespread adoption?

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Heat Pump Water Heaters – We Need to Get this Right

How heat pump water heaters work

The state of California has passed some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction legislation in the county. To meet projected reductions outlined in these laws, California will need to wean itself from fossil fuels. Residential electrification efforts are in progress, and heat pump water heaters are a critical component. Heat pump water heaters are great, but there are some concerns. Check out some of the things we have learned about this new technology.

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