Cities and states all over the country are making a big push to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in both new and existing buildings. Not only are these changes a necessity to slow down global warming trends, but in many cases building energy costs are also dramatically reduced.
Whole House Electrification (WHE), my latest favorite TLA (three letter acroynum) is accomplished by replacing all gas appliances (including your car) with cleaner and more efficient electric appliances such as heat pumps, EV chargers and electric induction stoves. LED lighting, better HVAC controls and upgraded insulation also help reduce building energy consumption.
But starting a WHE project can be daunting -- even for an energy geek like me. Conventional wisdom recommends a home energy audit. When I did my energy audit using the DOE’s Home Energy Advisor program it recommended adding insulation to my stucco walls (almost impossible), sealing my ducts (they were really old), upgrading my old furnace and replacing my noisy air conditioner. None of these recommendations were really right for me.
The reason is that traditional energy audits do not take into account the dizzying array of electric appliances, toys and embedded devices that power our 21st century lifestyle. Most of these energy audits are flat out wrong -- ignoring rooftop solar, battery storage, heat pumps and time-of-use electric rates. Combined, these new technologies provide significant savings for an electric home.
Luckily, I found a kindred soul, Steve Schmidt, a pioneer in the new energy analysis industry. Steve founded Home Energy Analytics, which uses smart utility meter data to figure out what is really going on with energy in your house. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show for Steve’s approach to prioritizing and then reducing energy costs, as well as his insights into Whole House Electrification.