Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from burning fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas (which is primarily methane gas) are warming our planet and causing severe climate change. Scientists agree that we have only a few years to keep climate change from spiraling out of control. So, what can we do about it? Buildings are the second highest contributor to our GHG emissions, after transportation. Eliminating the burning of natural gas from buildings (“building electrification”) is therefore a major way in which we can reduce overall GHG emissions. Building all-electric homes is a clear path forward. Furthermore, when the Clean Energy Alliance begins service this spring, using 100% clean electricity will be an option for Del Mar residents.
To date, over 40 municipalities in California have passed some form of building code which restricts or completely eliminates the use of natural gas in new construction. Such all-electric homes are cheaper to build because no gas lines need to be installed, and there are long-term savings on energy bills. With rooftop solar panels, the cost is even lower! As an important co-benefit, indoor air quality is vastly improved, because the level of nitrous dioxide and other pollutants produced by gas appliances, including the methane gas emitted before the gas flame ignites on cooktops, is eliminated.
Building electrification is easy enough to achieve, and the all-electric technology is even better than that with gas appliances. Heating a house with heat pump space heating is not only cleaner, but more comfortable. With heat pump heaters, you automatically get air conditioning as well as heating with the same system. Often each room has a “minisplit” high on the wall, and these allow the temperature in each room to be independently controlled. Similarly, all-electric induction cooktops are amazing! I never thought I would want to give up my gas stove for cooking, but induction cooktops are faster to get to temperature, they shut off immediately when the pan is removed (and so are safer), and, of course, produce none of
the indoor air pollution that a gas stove produces. We have one and we love it!
The Del Mar Sustainability Advisory Board last year unanimously recommended to the City Council that they adopt an all-electric ordinance for new construction, although those plans are on hold now due to budget concerns. The newly formed San Diego Building Electrification Coalition, a group of 20 environmental and architectural organizations, is advocating for all-electric building codes for the County as well as cities in the San Diego region. They have hosted webinars, and they are glad to give presentations for any organizations or cities that would like to know more about building electrification.
Get with the trend – go all-electric!