Like most consumers in La Puenta, California, if the heater and air conditioner in your home are working just fine, you’re probably content to leave them alone. System upgrades and major changes for the sake of efficiency aren’t always feasible unless they’re absolutely necessary. However, with California’s widespread push for electrification, there are certain improvements that you may want to make sooner than later. After all, gas isn’t getting any cheaper, and state legislators aren’t making it easy to continue relying on fossil fuels. If you haven’t started the process of electrification, the following is everything that you need to know about moving away from gas-powered appliances and vehicles in this state.
California Has Ambitious Aims for Carbon Neutrality
In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown established an executive order stating the goal of achieving carbon neutrality in the State of California by 2045. This order further declared that California would reduce its level of climate-warming emissions by 40% from its level in 1990 no later than 2030. Brown’s successor, Governor Gavin Newsom, has been no less ambitious. Under his governance, California legislators recently passed a vote to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. From 2035 on, only 20% of new car sales in the state will be plug-in hybrid models. Every other new vehicle will be all-electric.
Moves like these represent the aggressive way in which the state intends to tackle climate change, but they also create a number of cost concerns for consumers and municipalities alike. Although 2035 is still more than a decade away, California and other large-sized and densely populated states like it don’t yet have the infrastructure in place to support this transition. For consumers, switching to all-electric cars can mean deciding between waiting in line for hours for a rapid charge or public charging station or paying large sums of money to have a personal charging station installed at home.
As California becomes less gas-friendly, motorists who still drive gas-powered vehicles will likely find it more challenging to access gas stations, automotive repair shops with technicians who are trained to handle their vehicles, and affordable options in replacement autos. This comes in addition to the fact that companies like GM will only be producing all-electric vehicles by 2035, and many other major auto manufacturers such as Ford, Nissan, Honda, and Mazda are greatly scaling down their production of gas-powered vehicles as well.
What Is Carbon Neutrality?
Carbon is regularly removed from the atmosphere by natural carbon sinks. Carbon sinks include forests, oceans, and other natural features that use carbon emissions in much the same way that humans use oxygen. Carbon neutrality is achieved when new carbon emissions don’t exceed carbon emission removal by carbon sinks. In essence, it occurs when the number of new carbon emissions being added to the atmosphere reaches zero. To achieve such an ambitious end, California intends to eliminate as many emissions-producing vehicles and appliances from circulation as possible.
Assessing the Emissions-Producing Products in Your Life
According to Newsom, removing gas-powered vehicles from the road will have the single greatest impact on carbon emissions among all climate change efforts. However, to achieve zero carbon emissions or carbon neutrality by 2045, the removal of gas-powered vehicles is considered “a good start.” There are countless other emissions-producing appliances that Californians are heavily reliant upon. These include gas-powered heaters, gas-powered dryers, and gas-powered water heaters.
Scaling Back Now Can Make Your Life Easier Later On
California is fast gaining a reputation for being one of the most environmentally conscious and forward-thinking states in the nation. However, as it becomes more environmentally friendly, it’s also becoming markedly less gas-friendly. Consumers who choose to remain heavily reliant upon fossil fuels while living in this state can look forward to higher utility bills, higher costs for repairing or replacing gas-fired appliances, and other challenges.
While many people are eager to jump on board with changes that will improve their air quality, eliminate smog to provide a clearer view of the skyline, and preserve the world for future generations, most are also well aware of the high costs of electrification. It costs money to transition from a gas-powered vehicle to an EV. It costs money to have a personal EV charging station installed. It also costs money to electrify an entire house. For some people, tens of thousands of dollars must be spent before zero carbon emissions can be achieved in their own households.
However, there are a number of feasible and relatively affordable changes that homeowners can start making right now to limit the effects of this transition. Best of all, these are home improvements that will:
- Build home equity
- Increase the marketability and appeal of their houses
- Provide immediate energy savings
- Greatly reduce their carbon footprints
- Make their homes safer
For instance, switching to a high-efficiency electric furnace is cheaper than continuing to use a gas-fired model when you consider the long-term savings. It’s also safer for the entire household, given that electric furnaces don’t pose the risk of dangerous carbon monoxide leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning. Best of all, electric furnaces have significantly longer lifespans than their alternatives.
Many of these benefits are also true of switching to a ductless heat pump. Ductless mini-split heat pumps are cheaper to use, they waste less energy, and they don’t directly produce climate-changing emissions. Moreover, with this type of heating system in place, homeowners in Southern California can get year-round heating and cooling from a single unit. They can also enjoy zoned service that allows them to selectively heat or cool occupied rooms as needed. Changes like these aren’t as costly as getting rid of your gas-fired vehicle and having an electric charging station put in. However, they can make a world of difference when it comes to your carbon footprint and overhead costs.
What Is Strategic Electrification?
Strategic electrification or beneficial electrification is the practice of gradually electrifying a home, municipality, or business while being ever-mindful of the challenges and drawbacks of each individual electrification project. Some measures to electrify lifestyles, living spaces, and companies aren’t always as beneficial as they initially appear. Moreover, some measures will cost far more money than they ultimately save. With strategic electrification, California residents and legislators can implement plans for moving toward carbon neutrality that provide optimal short- and long-term outcomes and come at a reasonable price.
Why Your HVAC System Is the Perfect Place to Start
The heater and air conditioner in your La Puenta home likely account for about 50% of your home energy bill. This means that approximately half of your home energy use comes from the HVAC equipment you currently maintain. If you don’t do a lot of driving or if you already drive a hybrid model or an EV, it also means that your HVAC system accounts for the largest portion of your carbon footprint.
Electrifying your home heating and cooling system, especially by having a ductless heat pump installed, ticks all of the boxes for strategic or beneficial electrification. This is a change that won’t cost a lot upfront. Similarly, upgrading a gas water heater to an electric, point-of-use water heater will provide remarkable environmental benefits and impressive savings in the long run.
At Temp Air System Inc., we know just how daunting California’s widespread and surprisingly rapid push for electrification can seem. We also know that there are ways of working toward carbon neutrality in your own household that don’t have to be overwhelming. We provide reliable HVAC, indoor air quality, and water heater installation services to residents of Los Angeles County. If you’re ready to start upgrading your home appliances for increased efficiency, we’re here to help. Call us today to get started.