Beginnings are tough—whether it’s writing that first draft or moving to a new city, the hardest part often lies in knowing where to start. This can be especially true when it comes to home electrification. Electrifying your home is a big project with many potential routes to take, so picking a place to begin can be, well, overwhelming. That’s where our new product, Your Electrification Roadmap (YER), comes in.
More than just a product, it’s our vision to be the “easy button” for upgrading to a climate-friendly home. With YER, we create a personalized roadmap that is tailored specifically to your home and your goals. Our objective? Make the process of becoming climate-friendly seamless and hassle-free.
But we recognize you may find yourself wondering – how did they arrive at this recommendation? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the methodology behind the logic that guides our suggested routing steps and the metrics that fill up your electrification progress bar. Our aim is to equip you with a comprehensive understanding of how YER can shape your electrification journey from beginning to end, with Elephant Energy guiding you every step of the way. Let’s dive in!
Routing Logic: Guiding Principles for Sustainable Living
The order of the steps on Your Electrification Roadmap is guided by four fundamental principles: (1) fixing what’s broken, (2) building science best practices, (3) your preferences, and (4) reaching the end goal: a climate-friendly home.
Let’s break down even further why these principles are considered in the order that they are:
1. Fix What’s Broken:
Fixing any broken systems in your home is the first priority. Promptly restoring essential functionalities like hot water supply ensures comfort and convenience while still working to reduce your carbon emissions.
2. Building Science Best Practices:
Our next important focus revolves around adhering to the best practices in building science. This involves services such as weatherization and solar integration, but why is this so important? Let’s take a look.
We advocate (strongly!) for weatherization as the first step towards electrification. No matter how you heat your home, you’ll want to consider weatherization. Weatherization is the process of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency. How? Typically, it entails adding insulation and air sealing. Both measures enable you to heat and cool your home in the most efficient way possible.
To ensure optimal solar integration, we place solar installations towards the end of your roadmap. This approach provides a better understanding of your full electrical load before recommending the most suitable solar system. Wondering why you should electrify before installing solar? Take a look at our previous blog post, Heat Pump Before Solar Panels: Why It’s the Smart Choice, to learn more. If you already have solar panels, our routing logic assumes that your electrical needs are fully covered. In some instances, however, it may be the case that you need to increase your array to meet the needs of a fully electrified home.
Optional electrical service upgrade:
While we may suggest an optional electrical service upgrade in some cases, in most instances, it’s not necessary – that’s especially true where the electrical capacity is already 125 amps or more. In homes with less than 125 amps, we try to offer creative and budget-friendly solutions designed for your home, aiming to make electrification possible without immediately opting for an upgrade.
3. Homeowner Preference:
We have two main priorities when it comes to you, the homeowner: understanding your preferences and fitting within your budget. If you’re enthusiastic about adopting specific electrified systems, like a heat pump, we try to prioritize those choices to kickstart your electrification journey (unless we believe there is a more important step that you should take first, like weatherization!). If your budget is guiding where you’d like to start, then we take that into consideration too. Our approach is all about aligning with your needs while also doing what we think is best for both you and the planet.
4. Reaching The End Goal: A Climate-Friendly Home:
We aim to provide a comprehensive roadmap for transitioning off of all fossil fuel systems, even if you don’t place to tackle those steps until later on. Additionally, we encourage proactive replacement of older systems with electrified alternatives to increase your home’s sustainability. Our ultimate goal is to guide you toward full electrification, ensuring no stone is left unturned on your path to sustainable living.
Curious as to why this is so important? Read our case for accelerating home electrification here.
The Methodology Behind The Metrics: Electrification Progress and Carbon Footprint
With YER, we introduce two critical metrics: Electrification Progress and Carbon Footprint. These metrics are interconnected and represent two key aspects of sustainable living in your home.
There’s a lot wrapped up in the question, “how far along am I in my electrification journey?” (or perhaps more importantly… “how much further do I have to go?”). To help you gain clarity, we designed a progress bar at the top of Your Electrification Roadmap. As you electrify more of the things in your home the progress bar fills up towards 100%. We want to make sure you understand how it’s getting there.
Electrification Progress is a directional metric that measures how close you are to achieving whole-home electrification. We’ve designed a points-based system to calculate your progress. We categorize systems in your home into small, medium, and large groupings based on cost, size, and installation time. Each electrified system earns you points (L=4, M=2, S=1), while non-electrified systems receive 0 points.
In addition, we exclude any systems that may not be relevant to your home; for example, if your home does not have a fireplace, then we exclude that system from the point calculation entirely – so that your progress bar accurately reflects the electrification opportunities within your unique home. The below table depicts the criteria used to determine the size of the given system:
|Size Vs. Factor||S||M||L|
|Cost||Less than $5,000 before rebates||$5,000-10,000 before rebates||More than $10,000 before rebates|
|Installation Time||Less than one day||One to two days||More than 2 days|
|Impact (Estimated annual carbon footprint reduction)||Less than 5% decrease||5-10% decrease||Greater than 10% decrease|
To determine your Electrification Progress, we divide the sum of points for all your electrified systems by the total potential points if you electrified all your systems. This metric provides a clear and tangible measure of your journey towards a climate-friendly home.
Your Carbon Footprint represents the annual carbon emissions resulting from operating your home’s systems. This metric considers the metric tons of carbon released during the operation of each system.
To calculate your Carbon Footprint, we sourced data from the EPA on residential energy usage for the year 2020, averaged across all states. For systems still reliant on fossil fuels, such as a gas heater, we apply the average emission data to calculate your carbon footprint. We also consider a baseline electricity usage for things like lighting and refrigeration. If you have a rooftop or community solar, we offset the carbon footprint of electrified systems, assuming your solar array fully covers your electricity needs.
We are so excited to share Your Electrification Roadmap with you, and hope that you find it to be a helpful tool in starting (or continuing) your journey to a climate-friendly home. We’re here to support you every step of the way!
We’re always learning and appreciate your feedback, so if you have any thoughts about how we could make this better, please let us know! And , if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here.
Ready to get started? Click here to get Your Electrification Roadmap, personalized specifically to you and your home’s needs.