Electrify Everything means that we need to get off fossil fuel sources like gasoline, natural gas, and propane, and electrify functions like transportation, heating and cooktops. The idea is that if we electrify everything, then our cars, HVAC and ranges will be powered by an electric grid that is getting cleaner and cleaner every day, with greater amounts of renewable energy generation.
We moved our home to 100% electric, including transportation (two electric vehicles), 100% powered by solar energy. In fact, we are a net exporter of electricity to the grid and import zero kilowatt-hours of electricity during peak hours using energy storage. This is precisely the time when the grid has the highest strain and needs homes with solar and storage to do their part by being self-sufficient.
Why did we do it? Well, we have a climate crisis that demands action. All the technology is now available for regular middle-class folks to make the transition from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. The Inflation Reduction Act has scores of incentives that make going solar and electrifying everything entirely possible. Electric vehicles are now often comparable in cost to gas vehicles, and when you power your EV on solar, you pay a small fraction of the cost of gasoline.
The biggest question is how we did it. Here’s the recipe:
- The lowest hanging fruit: LED bulbs. If you do nothing else, start with LED bulbs on Day 1 moving into your house. Okay, it’s not sexy. It’s not even electrifying since you probably had incandescents. But LEDs are now cheap and plentiful, with huge savings for all who make the switch.
- We went solar! If you have unused roof space that isn’t covered with solar panels, you’re throwing money out the window. Cover every square inch possible and you’ll set the stage for all the functions in your home to be powered by renewable energy. Reach out to Ipsun Solar (or your local Amicus installer), to find out how many solar panels you can fit on your roof and how much of your usage you can cover.
- Replace gas vehicles with electric vehicles. You can get a used EV now for under $20,000 and with a $4,000 used EV tax credit from the IRA, that can give you a loan payment well under $200/mo. Pair that with fuel from the sun that is a fraction of the cost of gasoline, and maintenance costs that are a fraction of the cost as well, and you’ve just saved yourself tens of thousands of dollars. We purchased two EVs, both powered by the sun.
- Electrify your gas range. Did you know that gas fumes from your range could be as bad as smoking cigarettes? That’s no good. Replace with a convection or induction range, add solar, and all of your dinners now baked by the sun (metaphorically speaking).
- Get a heat pump! Whether ducted or ductless, heat pumps are far more efficient that old dinosaur HVACs of the 20th century, because they have an inverter that allows for multi-stage cooling. They also move heat around from outside to inside (and vice versa, depending on the season), which means that you could cut your heating and cooling costs by 75% or more. No more natural gas bills for hundreds of dollars in the winter, because you can power the whole thing with your solar system. We installed a Ruud/Rheem central air-source heat pump and noticed that it uses about 25% of the electricity to heat the home, relative to our old central HVAC/furnace system.
- Get a battery backup system. Okay, technically speaking you don’t need to do this to electrify everything and power it with solar. But by having a battery backup system, you can keep the lights on in a grid outage, and you can save hundreds of dollars by signing up with a voluntary time-of-use program from your local utility. That allows you to power the home with solar and storage during peak times, and charge the battery and EVs at night when power is a fraction of the cost. Now you’re helping ease strain on the grid, and saving money at the same time.
- Get a SPAN Main Service Panel and SPAN Drive EV Charger. When the grid does go out, a SPAN panel will help you to identify critical and non-critical loads, so that you can keep the lights on for as long as possible. The SPAN EV Charger will dynamically charge your car, and even defer charging to nighttime hours when rates are cheapest. The dynamic charging means that you can charge from the sun directly, but also that SPAN Drive will reduce and increase the power to the vehicle based on electricity drawn from other sources in the home. Pretty cool!
So you might think that having your home 100% powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels would make going to Net Zero difficult. But what if we told you that when we electrified everything, we still had solar power to spare? In fact, we are exporting nearly 18% surplus solar energy to the grid this year alone.
There is nothing more satisfying than turning your home 100% electric and 100% net zero.
There’s nothing more imperative than using existing technology to reverse the climate crisis.
There’s no better time than now.