Did you know that home energy use is responsible for roughly 32% of the average American’s carbon footprint? Home electrification (upgrading old gas appliances and replacing them with new, modern and efficient electric ones) is the #1 most impactful thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only will electrifying everything in your home reduce your environmental impact and save you money, but it will also make your home more comfortable.
At Elephant Energy, we specialize in home electrification — because we’re passionate about it, and also because we know firsthand that navigating this process can be overwhelming. Here, we simplify the steps you can take to start your electrification journey.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that electrification is a process, not a single project! Most homeowners will tackle electrification over the course of years, not months. And, the steps and outcome will look a little different for every home. That’s why if you choose to work with us, we’ll schedule a Home Comfort Consultation, during which our team will learn about your motivations for electrification, as well as take stock of your home’s specific features and comfort issues. Then, we’ll put together a home-specific electrification roadmap that is tailored to your unique needs and your home.
All of that being said, after electrifying homes from one end of the Colorado Front Range to the other, we have a few tips and best practices for how to approach the electrification process. If you’re starting to think about electrifying your home, here’s what we suggest!
Step 1: Get clear on your motivations and goals for electrifying
As with any important decision, we highly recommend starting with a bit of reflection on two key topics: What’s motivating you to electrify, and what are your goals? Getting clarity on the why and your objectives will help with decision-making down the line.
When we talk to our customers here at Elephant Energy, we most often hear the below five reasons for pursuing home electrification:
–Increase home comfort (e.g. cozy heating, even cooling, moisture reduction)
–Save on expensive energy bills
–Reduce carbon footprint
–Improve indoor air quality
–Invest in home resale value
Step 2: Take stock of where you are today
Once you’ve determined your electrification goals, the next step is to audit your home as it stands. Here’s a set of guiding questions:
Heating and Cooling
–Is heating and cooling even throughout your home? If not, are certain rooms either too hot or too cold?
–What type of heating do you have today? If relevant — how old is your furnace? (Typical lifetime: ~15 years)
–What type of cooling do you have today? If relevant — how old is your air conditioner? (Typical lifetime: 10-15 years)
–Do you have any concerns about your energy bills?
–What type of hot water heater do you have today?
–Do you have consistent hot water available?
–How old is your hot water heater? (Typical lifetime: 10-15 years)
–What type of stove and oven do you have today? Any issues or concerns with either?
–How old is your oven? (Typical lifetime: 15-20 years)
–How old is your stove? (Typical lifetime: 10-15 years)
–Is an electric vehicle in your future?
–If so, is your garage wired for a charger?
Step 3: Work with an electrification partner to create a roadmap
Once you’ve identified the upgrades that are most critical for your home, we recommend working with a partner to design an “electrification roadmap”. Not all contractors know the ins and outs of electric systems, and won’t take your whole house into consideration – working with a specialist ensures that you’ll have a partner in installing thoughtful upgrades over time.
Moreover, a specialist can help you to select the appliances that are the best fit for your home, and order them in advance. Due to supply chain constraints, lead times for electric systems can be anywhere a few weeks to many months. Being planful about these decisions ensures that you don’t get stuck with “what’s on the truck” in an emergency replacement scenario.
Step 4: Do a financial “360” of your plan
Your electrification partner should be able to share quotes on what it will cost to execute each step of your roadmap, as well as help you to understand and maximize the rebates and tax incentives that are available to you. There are many incentives available now and coming online next year, which often add up to thousands of dollars in savings.
When analyzing the financials of electrification decisions, It’s also important to consider the reduced annual operating costs that are a significant benefit of new electric appliances. Due to significantly increased efficiency, electric upgrades can save you hundreds of dollars a month in utility bills – and that adds up!
Step 5: Just get started!
At the end of the day, there’s no perfect place to start your electrification journey – but rather the most important thing is to simply start! Home insulation and sealing is typically both the most affordable and highest ROI step of most homeowners’ roadmaps–if your home is over 20 years old or at all drafty, we highly recommend doing this first.
Interested in learning more about Elephant Energy or working with us? Get in touch here!