Home Electrification

Why Electrify?

Switching from conventional gas appliances to electric appliances can help save money, reduce indoor air pollution, and reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The most common natural (methane) gas appliances to electrify are hot water heaters, space heaters, stoves, and clothes dryers. Planning ahead for appliance installations can reduce inconveniences (like no hot water) when equipment fails. Most gas water heaters, for example, last only 8 to 12 years, so if you are looking to switch yours from gas to electric, be ready to put in a heat pump water heater before it fails.

BayREN Home+ Rebates

The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) provides rebates to help you switch your appliances from natural (methane) gas to electric. Rebates are available for heat pump water heaters, high efficiency heat pumps to replace the load of an air conditioner and furnace, an induction electric range or cooktop, and a heat pump clothes dryer. BayREN also offers rebates for energy efficiency measures like insulation and duct sealing so you get the whole package for your home. Learn more at BayRENresidential.org or contact a Home Energy Advisor for a free consultation: 866-878-6008.

Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) provides additional rebates to help electrify your home. PCE’s rebates for heat pump water heaters can layer on top of BayREN incentives: http://pencleanenergy.com/hpwh. To get started, visit BayRENresidential.org or contact a Home Energy Advisor for a free consultation: 866-878-6008.

The Switch is On Campaign

The Switch is On is a statewide project of the Building Decarbonization Coalition in partnership with BayREN, Peninsula Clean Energy, and 10 other agencies, to help you navigate the transition to 100% clean appliances. Visit switchison.org to learn more and access helpful resources.

Electric Home Ambassador Program

If you’re considering replacing natural (methane) gas equipment and would like to talk to someone who has done something similar, check out the Electric Home Ambassador Program launched by Fossil Free Buildings in Silicon Valley. After filling in their online form, you can be matched with a volunteer ambassador for personalized advice based on their experience electrifying their own home. 

Induction Cooktop Loaner Programs

Induction cooktops cook food efficiently, and they also improve indoor air quality compared to gas stoves. There are a few programs that allow residents to loan cooktops and try them out for free. The City of Burlingame offers a loaner program that includes both an induction cooktop and a compatible frying pan, and San Carlos Green also offers a program for residents of San Carlos and surrounding unincorporated areas. In addition, Acterra hosts plant-based induction cooking classes.

Case Studies: Costs for Decarbonizing Existing Single-Family Homes

The Office of Sustainability is developing 10 case studies highlighting costs and strategies to decarbonize existing single-family homes. Case studies will include energy efficiency; heat pump water heating, space heating, and clothes drying; induction cooking; solar; battery backup; and electric vehicle charging. Case studies will also quantify the costs and/or savings of electrification over time for the homeowner.  The County released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to find an electrification consultant (to provide technical assistance and financial analysis) and three contractor teams (to provide cost quotes and other information).

Submissions for participating in the case studies have closed. Homeowners will be notified by July 2021 about whether they have been selected as a participant. The 10 homes studied will reflect a variety of home types located throughout San Mateo County. Participating homeowners will receive at least one in-home consultation to document existing equipment and conditions, and discuss their energy goals. Homeowners will receive a brief case study for their home, including:

  • Recommended strategy for electrifying the home, based on the homeowner’s goals and the financial analysis. For instance, would it make more sense for the homeowner to upgrade over time or all at once? Does the electrical panel need to be upgraded or can an upgrade be avoided?
  • Basic product information for the new equipment. The study will include basic specifications such as the number of gallons of the heat pump water heater, the type of EV charging, the R-factor of the insulation, etc. It will include product names if it matters to the pricing or ability to work in a certain configuration, otherwise, generic information will be provided.

NOTE: The scope for the case study project doesn’t include actually installing equipment or making physical upgrades; the purpose of the project is to simply identify anticipated costs for doing the work.

Heat Pump Water Heater Permit Research Report

In the spring of 2021, the Office of Sustainability conducted a research project to understand the building permit processes and costs for the installation of heat pump water heaters in existing single family homes. The final report detailing the findings and recommendations is posted here: 2021 San Mateo County HPWH Permit Project Final Report.

Systems Mapping Project: Decarbonizing Existing Single-Family Homes

With assistance from Presidio Graduate School (PGS Consults) and funding from BayREN, the Office of Sustainability convened a multi-stakeholder group to map out the challenges of decarbonizing existing single-family homes and identify opportunities for regional collaboration. We hosted focus groups with homeowners and contractors to uncover barriers and inefficiencies. After coming to a clearer common understanding of the complex system that governs home carbon emissions, the stakeholder group agreed on four, regionally coordinated actions that are believed to have the most significant impact. The final report detailing the project findings and next steps is available here: Systems Mapping Project Final Report.