How to “Electrify Everything”
Oct. 31, 2019
The state of California has been making headlines by taking some huge leaps in climate change legislation in recent years, like banning natural gas lines and requiring solar panel installation for new home construction. This forward thinking in the fight against climate change has made California one of the top ten eco-friendly states in America. But did you know which state also ranks in the top ten? You guessed it: Massachusetts.
Homes, businesses, and municipalities here in the Bay State are continuing to move away from the carbon emissions of burning fossil fuels. You’ve probably seen more electric cars on your commute and more solar panels on the roofs of your friends’ and neighbors’ homes — but what about what’s going on inside the home? This is what the electrify everything movement is all about. Let’s take a look at the electrify everything movement, and what you can do in your Massachusetts home to help keep our state one of the top ten greenest in America.
Definition: Electrify Everything
This catchy term was coined back in 2017 in a Vox article, bringing attention to the fact that our homes are a large contributor to human carbon emissions. The electrify everything concept is simple on the surface level, but getting down to the nitty-gritty gets a little more complicated.
An all-electric home uses exclusively electric appliances. No natural gas, no propane, only electricity. Now you may be thinking, “Isn’t natural gas renewable?” If you are, you’re not alone. Many homeowners are misled by the “natural” part of natural gas — but it is still a fossil fuel that comes from a finite source, and still creates carbon emissions! Plus, any appliance that burns fossil fuels in a home risks exposing you to fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Areas to Electrify
Take a minute and think about all of the different appliances in your home that burn a fuel other than electricity. Think you’ve got them all? Let’s go through each area of the home to see where electrification is needed.
Heating and Cooling
You may not burn fossil fuels to cool your home in the summer, but oil- and gas-based heating is a bit of a legacy here in New England. Upgrading to electric heating and cooling with an appliance like a heat pump system is an important first step in electrifying a home.
Air source heat pumps have become the go-to energy-saving, all-electric home comfort solution. They are extremely versatile because have both heating and cooling settings, and can be used to supplement your existing air conditioner or can be combined with multiple indoor air handlers as a whole-home solution. For Boston Solar customers looking to electrify their homes, we partner with NETR, Inc. for their expert heat pump installation.
The phrase “Now we’re cooking with gas!” has its merits — cooking on a gas stove can be a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, cooking with natural gas or propane in your home also poses a risk to your indoor air quality, and is not nearly as safe as an induction oven range.
An induction cooktop uses an electromagnetic field to heat up your cookware and provides many benefits, such as:
An induction cooktop is similarly efficient in energy transfer to a gas range, at around 84%. Although you might not get the “click-click-floom” after converting from gas to electric, the cooking experience is similar, yet safer and more environmentally friendly.
Water Heating and Laundry
You likely already know the frustrations of a gas-powered water heater tank. Once the tank is emptied, you’ve got to wait another 30 minutes to an hour before you can take a shower or wash the next load of laundry. So, what are your electric water heating options? There are a couple!
Tankless electric water heaters provide immediate hot water, right when you need it. They do not store hot water in a tank — they heat the water you need in your home as soon as you turn on the faucet.
Heat pump water heaters are another efficient all-electric option, utilizing the same heat pump technology as the heating and cooling system we referenced earlier. A heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air (heat you are already paying for to keep your home comfortable) and stores hot water in a tank similar to a traditional water heater.
Powering an Electric Home with Solar
Though electrifying your home and removing fossil fuels from the equation is a big step in the right direction, the method of electricity generation you use is also important. By powering your home with solar, you can reduce your reliance on the Massachusetts electrical grid and utilize renewable energy to power your electric devices.
This is where things can get a little tricky. By making the switch to all-electric appliances, the electricity load will increase, along with the number of solar panels required to power all of those appliances. So it is absolutely essential that an all-electric solar home operates as efficiently as possible. How can you tell how energy efficient your home is? With an energy audit!
The goal of any home energy audit is to pull back the curtain on your home’s performance and uncover any areas where your home is costing you energy. This is often done through energy efficiency upgrades like insulation, air sealing, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and more.
Plus, when you schedule an energy audit with a Mass Save contractor like Mass Energy Experts, they’ll help you qualify for rebates, incentives, and other savings, like 75% to 100% off insulation services, free LED bulb replacement, and much more.
Mass Energy Experts refers to their energy audits as Home Energy Assessments, and you can schedule your assessment here.
Bonus: Tesla Powerwall
Here at Boston Solar, we are looking to the future of solar electric systems and how Massachusetts homeowners are going to power their homes. As we learn more about the unreliability of our electrical infrastructure, battery storage is emerging as a solution for homeowners looking to remove their electricity usage from the grid entirely.
Boston Solar is an authorized installer of Tesla Powerwall, which is a solar battery storage system that allows homeowners to keep the excess solar energy generated during peak sunlight hours. This stored electricity is then used overnight, removing the need for grid-supplied electricity (in most cases). By combining Tesla Powerwall with a custom-designed and installed solar PV system, you can rest easy knowing all of the electricity you use in your home was generated by a renewable energy source, the Sun!
Boston Solar: Your Solar Savings Advocate
Not only will the team at Boston Solar help pair you with all of the resources you need to electrify your home, but we can also help you get the most out of the available rebates and incentives for your new solar installation. When you partner with Boston Solar, we will make sure you qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Credit, net metering, SMART incentives, and ConnectedSolutions.
Ready to power your all-electric home with solar? We’re looking at the big picture, and we’re here to help. Schedule your solar quote with Boston Solar today by calling 617-858-1645 or get in touch with us here.