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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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Energy Efficiency Finally Gets the Credit it Deserves

couple-sitting-beside-radiator

Home performance contractors have been selling deep energy retrofits for years. One of the critical selling tactics is concentrating on the Non-Energy Benefits (NEBs) of high-performance buildings. The real question is what are they? And will the state policymakers every recognize the true value of these non-energy related benefits of energy efficiency?

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Changing the Focus: From Saving Energy to Saving the Planet

Biden at climate summit

President Biden has already made it clear that combating climate change is a centerpiece of his administration’s agenda. Biden has reached an agreement with China and 40 other world leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly over the next decade. Will this national focus on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions finally propel energy efficiency to the forefront?

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