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.