The typical American home is powered electrically but heated by natural gas, propane or other fossil fuels. You and I can generate our own electricity with solar panels, but there’s no way for us to generate natural gas or other fossil fuel energy, so the transition to a “net zero energy” lifestyle necessitates turning away from fossil fuels and going all-electric.
Fortunately, technology has advanced — just in the last decade — to the point where going all-electric is totally practical, affordable, and a way you and I can mitigate climate change
At Golden Real Estate, our office was heated with natural gas until November 2017, when we installed a heat pump “mini-split” system and had our natural gas meter removed. With 20 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic panels, we were able to eliminate our natural gas bill but not increase our electric bill. We continue to pay just $11 per month to be connected to the electric grid (which functions as our “battery” thanks to net metering), but we are generating all the electricity needed to power, heat and cool our office building. We even have enough electricity from the solar panels to power our four electric cars without buying any net electricity from Xcel Energy. We hope other businesses will follow our lead.
Making the switch to all-electric at home is still in our future, because — like you, I suspect — we prefer gas cooking, gas grilling, and having a gas fireplace.
If, however, we can get beyond those preferences, it is possible now to heat our home and domestic hot water using heat pump appliances, and to cook our food with electric or induction cooktops and ovens. Electric grilling is also available, although not as attractive from a taste standpoint to most of us.
All-electric homes was the subject of a talk by architect Peter Ewers at last week’s meeting of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society’s Jeffco chapter. You can view an archived video of Peter’s talk at www.cres-energy.org/video.
Once we have removed gas service from our homes (and gas cars from our garages), we will have also eliminated the risks of explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning, too. Wouldn’t that be great?