Looking to increase the energy efficiency of your home? You don’t have to do it alone! In Truckee there are a number of incentives and services available to help you evaluate your options and to pay for home upgrades. These technologies can help to improve air quality in your home, reduce energy bills, and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
From the Truckee Donner Public Utilities District (TDPUD)
- Money back on Energy Star rated electric appliances, heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, induction cooktops, EV chargers, electric panel upgrades, efficient toilets and building envelope upgrades. You can now apply online for these rebates.
- Money back on water leak repairs
- FREE remote home energy audits that provide residents with tips to save on their energy bills and reduce energy use (COMING SOON)
- Energy Savings Assistance Program for income-eligible customers. Provides an energy assessment along with installation of qualifying home weatherization measures (Currently undergoing updates – STAY TUNED!)
From Liberty Utilities
- FREE home energy audits that provide residents with tips to save on their energy bills and reduce energy use. Include an energy efficiency toolkit with LED lightbulbs, advanced energy strips and more.
- Money back on EV charger installations for residents and small business customers
- Energy Savings Assistance Program for income-eligible customers. Provides an energy assessment along with installation of qualifying home weatherization measures.
From the Statewide TECH Incentive
- For single-family dwellings, enrolled contractors can earn $3,000 for any Heat Pump HVAC installation, and $3,100 or $1,000 for any HPWH installation, depending on gas or electric replacement, respectively.
- Provides FREE assistance to local residents wanting to electrify their homes. Services include:
- Electrification roadmap consults (1 hour visit to your home or building to help you understand your best path to electrify)
- Recommendations for specific equipment replacements
- Lending of induction cooking ranges
- Answering typical FAQs – “what about the grid, what about power outages, etc.”
Find a Contractor
Are you looking for a contractor to install your heat pump system or heat pump water heater? The Town does not endorse specific contractors, but below is a list of contractors licensed in California who are experienced with these sorts of installations. Let them help you reduce your energy use and increase air quality in your home!
Sierra Air Inc.
Location: Reno, NV
Services: Heat pumps, ductless mini splits, heat pump water heaters
Sun Power Construction
Phone: (530) 848-4027
Services: Heat pump water heaters, heat pumps, ductless mini splits
Location: North and West Shore Tahoe, Truckee
Services: Heat pumps, ductless mini splits, heat pump water heaters
*Booked until early Fall 2022
Don Weston Plumbing
Location: Truckee, Tahoe City, Northstar
Services: Heat pump water heaters
Brewer Refrigeration Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
Location: Grass Valley, but will serve Truckee area
Services: Heat pumps, ductless mini splits, heat pump water heaters
Services: Heat pumps
*Long service backlog, but happy to answer customer questions regarding heat pumps
You can also try searching for contractors through this Statewide tool. These contractors are experts in heat pump water heaters, space heating ,electric appliances, EV chargers, solar arrays and battery storage, and have at least 2.5 stars on yelp. This list was compiled by the Clean Energy Connection.
If you are a contractor who would like to be included on this list, please contact Sara Sherburne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Efficient electric heating technology is becoming more and more popular, and cold climate heat pumps have advanced to the point where they are feasible to use in Truckee.
Are you a licensed contractor installing heat pump technology? Make sure you are taking advantage of the State rebates for doing so!
Do you want to get more comfortable with the installation of heat pump technology? Check out some of the training resources below.
The State TECH Incentive
- For single-family dwellings, contractors can earn $3,000 for any Heat Pump HVAC installation, and $3,100 or $1,000 for any HPWH installation, depending on gas or electric replacement, respectively.
- Click here for additional program details and here to enroll as a contractor
Trainings / Resources
The Electrification Technical Assistance Program (hosted by Silicon Valley Clean Energy) provides extensive free technical assistance to architects, builders, developers, design engineers, contractors, and energy consultants regarding all-electric building technologies and electric vehicle infrastructure. Technical experts can provide support including recommended design approaches, design guide resources, energy model peer review, and feasibility and performance analyses. They also provide recordings of technical contractor trainings covering design, commissioning, homeowner education, and incentive opportunities, which can be accessed through their website.
The Truckee Donner Utilities District and the State of California are providing substantial rebates for residents and contractors who install efficient electric technology. Read on to learn more about the technology!
But first, why should I upgrade my building envelope?
In addition to installing efficient technology, you will also want to upgrade your building envelope to be maximally efficient. This will reduce the work that your heating system needs to do, thereby reducing your utility bills. A tight building envelope will also increase indoor air quality during wildfire season. Building envelope improvements include:
• Adding weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows.
• Adding insulation to your attic and walls.
• Properly sealing the ductwork throughout your home.
• Properly insulating the ducts in crawlspaces and attics.
• Installing and setting programmable thermostats to automatically lower the temperature at night in the cooler months and raise it in the warmer months, and adjust the temperature while you are away. Programmable thermostats can save you 10 percent annually on your energy bills.
Complete one of TDPUD or Liberty’s home energy audits to get tips on what measures will work best in your home, then take advantage of TDPUD’s rebates to weatherize your home.
Heat pumps are electric heating and cooling systems that move heat indoors in the winter and draw heat outdoors in the summer. Instead of burning fossil fuels, they are powered by electricity to move, rather than to create, heat. Since heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling, they are a good option for residents who are replacing their furnaces and who also wish to install AC. Heat pumps have a reputation for not functioning well in cold climates (a legacy of old technology); however, today’s cold climate heat pumps are up to 400% efficient, while gas furnaces are only 82% efficient. Heat pumps can provide efficient heating at outdoor temperatures as low as -15 F. There are several kinds of heat pumps and the most cost-effective option will depend upon the existing system type, which will vary home by home. Professional consultation is advised.
Though a heat pump will not function when the electricity goes out, most gas furnaces will not either. Gas furnaces require electricity to run their circuit boards, relays and blower motors. Thus, it is important to maximize your home’s building envelope and to consider a backup heating system regardless of whether you have a gas or electric heating system.
Heat pump water heaters
Heat pump water heaters also use heat pump technology to transfer heat from one place to another, extracting heat from the air and moving it into a tank to heat water. As a result, heat pump water heaters are about 3.75 times more efficient than gas furnaces in Truckee’s climate zone, and 2-3 times more efficient than electric resistance heaters. These efficiency improvements translate to on-bill savings.
Induction uses electromagnets to heat pots and pans directly, so the stove will stay relatively cool even as the pot heats up. Benefits of induction stoves include zero toxins, faster cooking times, more precise temperature control, higher energy efficiency, (and thus lower utility bills) and ease of cleaning due to the flat cooktop. Induction cooktops are also safter to operate since there is no open flame and they shut off automatically once the cookware is removed. Though most pots and pans will work on induction stoves, cookware made solely of aluminum, copper, or glass will not.
Reach Code FAQs
On January 25, 2022, Town Council directed Town staff to initiate a request for proposals for a consultant to facilitate a process of considering a “building reach code’ for Truckee. Over the coming months the Town will work with a stakeholder advisory committee and conduct public outreach to inform this process. Read on for more information about what reach codes are and why they are under consideration.
What is a reach code?
A reach code is a law adopted by a local government that creates higher building energy performance standards than those in the State building code. Typically, reach codes apply to residential or nonresidential new construction and sometimes to major renovations or additions. In some cases, specific measures may apply to existing buildings. Reach codes can target energy efficiency, energy storage, photovoltaics (PV), electric vehicle (EV) readiness, water efficiency, or existing building energy upgrades.
The requirements for a reach code are that they:
1) reduce building energy use
2) are cost effective. This means that the measures required in the reach code must pay for themselves over their lifetime.
3) are more restrictive than the state code
4) are re-adopted when the building code is updated every three years
Why is Truckee considering a reach code?
The primary goals of the reach code are to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to improve home air quality and public health. In 2019, the General Plan Advisory Committee created a Climate Action Subcommittee to help guide the creation of policies for Truckee’s Climate Action Plan. Discussions from these subcommittee meetings helped create and prioritize policies and actions related to transportation, land use, energy use, and waste. Using data from Truckee’s 2016 GHG emissions inventory, the Subcommittee noted that emissions from building energy use account for 59% of Truckee’s total community emissions. Thus, the CAP Subcommittee recommended developing a reach code to improve the energy efficiency of our building stock, reduce GHG emissions, and improve indoor air quality through use of efficient, non-polluting appliances.
What kinds of reach codes are there?
There are many types of reach codes. Some are prescriptive, meaning they require the implementation of specific measures (for example, the installation of PV systems on new residential construction) and some are performance based, meaning they require new construction to perform more efficiently than the State code, but allow for substantial flexibility in how this is achieved. Some reach codes require all-electric construction – usually with exemptions – and some allow for the continued use of fuels like natural gas and propane. Reach codes that affect building energy efficiencies remain the most common kind (and may include measures like duct sealing, attic insulation, electrification), though some local governments have adopted measures that make GHG reductions possible but do not specifically address energy efficiency. These include electric vehicle readiness, electric pre-wiring or panel requirements, indoor/outdoor water efficiency requirements and energy audits or benchmarking.
How will the Town develop the reach code?
The Town is currently reviewing consultant proposals and will select a firm in March. From there, the Town will assemble a Stakeholder Advisory Committee composed of Staff, Councilmembers, and representatives from the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe (CATT), Liberty Utilities, Southwest Gas, TDPUD, Sierra Community House, and community members with expertise in mechanical and electrical engineering. The Committee will meet several times over the coming months to help guide the development of the potential codes. There will be opportunities for broader public input through public opinion surveys, public hearings and workshops.
Contracting with a consultant does not mean that the adoption of a reach code is inevitable, however. Through outreach and research, the consultant will help the Town determine if a reach code makes sense for Truckee, and if so, what kind. Meanwhile, the Town will continue to develop programs that enhance access to and funding for energy efficiency tools and programs.
Why are we doing this now?
The California State Building Codes are updated every three years. The 2022 updates will go into effect in January 2023, and the most streamlined approach is to implement the reach code in tandem with this update. Additionally, the Town needs to move urgently to reach its GHG emission targets and waiting longer will require that more aggressive action is taken down the line.
How does the Town plan to improve the power grid to handle increased electric load as property owners increasingly adopt electric appliances?
The Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s (TDPUD) current load capacity is approximately 57MW, and they typically see peak demand (Christmas and New Year Holiday Weekends) reach a maximum of 36MW. This leaves room for relatively significant load growth, however the TDPUD is also engaged in an electrification and resource planning study to address the long-term load forecasts and enhance resiliency.
Doesn’t electricity create emissions too?
Yes, the source of electricity generation determines the amount and intensity of emissions produced. The TDPUD, which serves the majority of Truckee, provides electricity that is currently 60-65% renewable and will be 70-75% renewable by the end of the year. These renewable sources include wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric. Liberty Utilities, which serves about 5% of the Truckee population, provides electricity that is at least 33% renewable. Neither utility procures electricity from coal. Nationally, only 20% of electricity came from renewable sources in 2020, putting Truckee ahead of the curve. As our utilities move toward sourcing 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources, emissions associated with electricity use will approach zero.
Will the code create additional construction costs?
At this time, we do not know what the reach code would contain and cannot say how it would impact construction costs. However, it is worth emphasizing that the reach codes must be cost-effective in order to gain approval from the California Energy Commission. This means that although certain technologies will require an up-front cost, but they will pay for themselves over time. TDPUD, Liberty, the Town and the State are also providing incentives for energy efficient technology. Click here to view TDPUD rebates.