Like many homeowners throughout the nation, you’ve probably made a number of gradual, efficiency upgrades to your La Puente, California home. After all, installing new appliances, properly insulating your home, and even switching to modern light bulbs can all save you money. As you look for more ways to cut your overhead costs and reduce your carbon footprint, it’s important to think about the direction that the Golden State is headed in. With California’s recent legislation banning the sale of gas-powered cars in 2035 and the City of Berkeley’s recent natural gas ban, the future of California is all-electric. Not only will this impact what California residents drive, but it will also affect just about everything that they use in their homes, including their heating systems.
Berkeley’s Natural Gas Ban Is Leading the Way
Berkeley is the very first city in the U.S. to ban the use of natural gas in all newly constructed low-rise buildings. This ban forces developers to consider more efficient and environmentally friendly options in electric heating. It will reduce the amount of carbon emissions that new developments produce. More importantly, it will set the stage for additional natural gas restrictions going forward. Even now, major and well-populated cities like San Jose are considering similar moves. Although San Jose might not take an equally stringent approach to Berkeley’s recent measure, it’s definitely a step towards an all-electric future.
There’s also an impressive, trickle-down effect that’s expected to occur as the years go by. As aging heaters are replaced, more property owners will choose modern, electric-powered equipment. Changes in demand will invariably have an impact on heating equipment manufacturers. As California cities and residents increasingly move away from the use of natural gas, fewer gas-powered appliances will be produced.
Why the Move Away From Natural Gas?
Gas-powered furnaces certainly have their benefits. Natural gas furnaces are efficient in their own right. In fact, high-efficiency gas furnaces can produce more heat with less fuel than some electrically powered alternatives. Their primary drawbacks lie in the fact that they produce carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide isn’t just a greenhouse gas that contributes to the global warming effect. It’s also the main greenhouse gas being produced, and the one that’s having the most significant and lasting impact on the earth’s climate.
Natural gas also includes methane. Although methane is a short-lived pollutant, it’s exponentially more harmful for the environment than carbon dioxide is. With multiple buildings and households throughout California using natural gas to heat their living environments and workplaces, the combined effects of methane have been substantial. Berkeley’s method of banning natural gas in new low-rise buildings will offset these effects and turn the tide in a positive direction. As additional California cities follow suit, Californians can look forward to cleaner air and a collectively lower carbon footprint.
San Jose’s Massive Electrification Plan
San Jose has the ambitious goal of electrifying 47% of all homes throughout the city by the year 2030. This shouldn’t be a major issue in San Jose where many residents work in the tech industry. Locals are already eagerly snapping up new and cutting-edge products that promote efficiency, and they’re happily embracing the switch to all-electric cars. San Jose, Berkeley, and other cities like them aren’t seeing a tremendous amount of pushback for these changes. In fact, many registered California voters are very vocal about their willingness to jump on board.
Electrification May Prove Cheaper Than Most Think
Where there is hesitation in the move towards electrification, it’s usually inspired by the fear of high transition costs. After all, total and rapid electrification can be expensive, especially if it isn’t planned correctly. However, recent studies show that electrification may be far less costly than many people think. For instance, in new commercial and multi-family construction, some options in clean electric heating are estimated to be about $1,500 cheaper than comparable gas alternatives.
There’s also the additional move to promote greater awareness and understanding of beneficial electrification. Beneficial electrification plans make moving to all-electric appliances and systems both feasible and more affordable for homeowners.
What Is Beneficial Electrification?
The overarching goal of California legislators is beneficial electrification. Also known as strategic electrification, it is the process of moving away from the use of fossil fuels to electrically powered appliances and systems. However, it entails making this transition in a way that has the least impact on the public and private sectors. Beneficial electrification prioritizes projects that have the most rewarding outcomes for investors.
California homeowners aren’t expected to simply disconnect their gas-powered appliances and purchase costly, big-ticket replacements overnight. Instead, they can look for areas of energy waste and unsustainable living practices throughout their homes, and begin making upgrades in a scaled and completely manageable way. With beneficial electrification, California consumers should be able to recognize impressive savings with each project they complete.
Electrification and the Economy
The benefits of electrifying California aren’t just environmental. Moving to an all-electric future is anticipated to create a number of high-paying, middle-class jobs in the state. As old appliances are replaced, and new and more efficient models are installed, companies throughout the state will hire more employees. This will provide a viable avenue of transition for workers in the gas industry.
How to Start Preparing for California’s All-Electric Future
Now is a good time to start preparing for the all-electric future that lies ahead for Californians. This can be as simple as researching all-electric furnaces before paying for your next heater replacement, purchasing an electric, point-of-use water heater, or scheduling a home energy audit. Gas-powered appliances can be affordably replaced one by one, and just when these units are nearing their lifespans rather than before. Learning more about the functionality, enhanced features, and overall benefits of the latest electric appliances is also a great way to start.
The Benefits of Scheduling a Home Energy Audit
If you’re nervous about the prospect of an all-electric future, consider scheduling a home energy audit. Home energy audits make consumers more aware of the energy that they’re wasting through unsustainable practices, inefficient equipment, and poorly maintained building structures among other things. They also help consumers:
- Save money
- Reduce the carbon footprints of their entire households
- Learn about recent innovations in appliances and other home essentials
- Add value to their properties
- Increase the marketability of their investments
- Choose longer-lasting equipment
- Better organize their homes and spending
- Improve their indoor air qualities (IAQs)
These audits give consumers the opportunity to ask any questions that they have about electrification, and to get tips on how to strategically electrify their homes. In addition to scheduling a home energy audit with your utility company or a trusted, local electrician, you can also work with a reputable HVAC company to build, streamline, and refine your own beneficial electrification plan.
At Temp Air System Inc., we’re all about moving towards a greener, cleaner future. We install, repair, and maintain high-efficiency electric furnaces for our clients in La Puente, California and the surrounding area. We also offer ductless heat pumps, mini-split air conditioners, and many other all-electric appliances. If you’re ready to do your part in building an all-electric future, get in touch with us today.