The All-Electric “Elephant” in the Room.
We all know it’s there and we all know that no one wants to talk about it. The all-electric “elephant” in the room. Or more specifically, the home. We are about to rip-off the band-aid and address the belief that it costs more to have all-electric appliances than gas or duel-fuel appliances.
For purposes of this discussion, we’ll be focusing specifically on the incorporation of electric cooktop, heat-pump water heater, HVAC, and heat pump -=clothes dryer in both single-family and multi-family California residents*. (Climate Zone 9: Los Angeles, Pasadena, Burbank & Pomona)
Myth: It is more expensive to build a home with all-electric appliances.
Reality: The savings of switching from mixed-fuel appliances to all-electric appliances is significant on both the cost of the appliances as well as the infrastructure.
- The appliance savings on a 2-story, 2,700 sq. ft. single-family home is $3,282 per home, and a multi-family, 2-story, 6,980 sq. ft. 8-plex is $2,650/unit.
- The infrastructure savings that can be obtained by switching to all-electric home construction, based on Southern California Edison CPUC Rule 16, is approximately $1,400 per single-family detached and $1,000 -$2,500 per multi-family attached building.
- Reach Codes, local enhancements to state codes, typically act to the benefit of all-electric construction. Under the reach codes, mixed-fuel homes must meet additional requirements which will add to the cost of construction, whereas all-electric homes have no additional
Myth: Buyers will not settle for an all-electric home. They won’t settle for an electric stove/range nor do they want a heat pump water heater, HVAC heat pump, or electric clothes dryer.
Reality: According to a recent study conducted by Meyers Research, health and wellness features are the new premium elements desired in a new home, with the second most desired feature being Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). What does this have to do with making the switch to all-electric appliances?
- Gas stoves are a primary source of combustion (burning) pollution inside the home. Cooking on gas can spike emissions of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide making the IAQ up to 5-times more polluted than outside air pollution.
“There are clearly climate and economic arguments for electrifying buildings, but there is also a profound health imperative. A new RMI report highlights the impact of gas stoves on air pollution and public health. “ Rocky Mountain Institute
- Researchers in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health have released a report focused on the impacts of residential natural gas appliances on indoor and outdoor air quality, human health, and potential benefits of widespread residential electrification. Although the study focused on California, indoor, and outdoor air pollution from gas appliances can be expected everywhere.
- Indoor air pollutants can lead to a wide range of illnesses, in both children and adults, including asthma, heart problems, lung cancer, poisonings, musculoskeletal injuries, and accidents.
- The EPA lists indoor air pollutants as one of the top 5 environmental dangers. With people spend 90% of their time inside (plus the coronavirus pandemic), healthy indoor air quality has become increasingly important.
- Recent research has also demonstrated that poor indoor air quality has effects on productivity, decision-making, and well-being.
Myth: Electric appliances are inefficient, ugly, or both!
Reality: Appliance manufacturers have done a great job keeping up with modern technology to design and develop safe, efficient, affordable, and space-saving, smart, and environmentally responsible appliances. which accounts for more than 10% of the US carbon emissions. The new electric induction cooktops are not your grandmother’s coil range tops.
Induction cooktops/ranges are safe, as there is no open flame. They are efficient, “no other cooking technology that we’ve tested is faster than the fastest induction elements.” They also maintain a consistent and precise temperature, unlike gas which fluxgates and uses more energy (gas) to maintain the desired temperature.
“I am a big fan of the control, efficiency & consistency I have with an induction cooking.”
Travis Swikard, Chef/Owner of Callie Restaurant.
Home heating is the largest direct use of fossil fuel. Using heat pump versus a gas furnace, will significantly reduce carbon emissions, and is 2 – 4.5 much more efficient than Energy Star gas furnace (even in cold climates), delivers 2-4 times more heating energy than the electricity it consumes, and lowers monthly utility bills.
- Gas water heaters are another fossil fuel using appliance affecting IAQ in homes. Using a heat pump water heater, which is typically cheaper to install than a gas system, will have a positive impact on the environment and be more cost-effective for the consumer, but it will also be beneficial for developers and contractors through the rebates made available by electric utilities and governing bodies in an effort to achieve their carbon goals.