Since our founding in 2010, Cool Davis has worked alongside the City of Davis to encourage households to transition away from the use of fossil fuels in our homes, cars, and everyday life.

The need for these changes becomes more urgent every day, as climate impacts both locally and around the world mount. We must all find a way to become part of the solution and set aside the things that contribute to the problem.

Why electrify?

Non-renewable energy sources such as natural gas, crude oil, and coal emit greenhouse gases when they’re consumed. Natural gas, which is primarily methane (CH4), is the fuel source used in many of our homes to run our furnaces, water heaters, and stovetops, as well as dryers, spa and pool heaters, and other appliances in some homes.

When burned, natural gas emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When it leaks, however, it emits methane gas. While carbon dioxide has a global warming potential (GWP) of 1 as a standard for comparison, methane’s GWP is between 27 and 30. In other words, natural gas leakage is nearly 30 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.

Natural gas systems can present a real danger to community health and well-being: gas storage systems fail like the catastrophic leak at Aliso Canyon in Southern California; gas pipelines explode like in San Bruno in 2010; household appliances regularly release natural gas as a part of their normal operation and may leak additional gas as well, creating unhealthy air quality in our homes; and, recent studies show that leakage from natural gas systems, such as pipelines and appliances, is contributing millions more tons of GHG than previously assumed.

In Davis’s most recent greenhouse gas inventory, natural gas made up an estimated 10% of our total greenhouse gas emissions. Removing its use will be essential to reaching our climate goals and mitigating climate impacts in the future. Making the change to all electric systems and eliminating natural gas will benefit us in many ways beyond the reduction in emissions.

Renewable sources of energy, such as hydro, wind, and solar, do have impacts and do emit some greenhouse gases in manufacture, installation, and maintenance, and disposal is not completely tackled, however, compared to fossil fuels, their emissions and health impacts are drastically lower.

Visit our Ways to Save webpage for utility bill assistance programs.

This is hard but we must act!

People are understandably concerned about going all-electric. What happens if there’s an electricity outage and all the technological functions of our house don’t work: no cooking, no heating/cooling, no hot water, no lights, no clothes drying. If we adopt an electric car, then no way to get around.

The idea of giving up one’s gas stove is anathema to foodies and upgrading to an electric heat pump for space heating/cooling and water heating seems costly and time consuming. You may be legitimately upset about the prospect of having to make unforeseen and costly home upgrades.

All of this is hard. But we do have solutions, and, if we begin planning now, we’ll be better equipped to make these changes in the most practical way possible. As we look at retrofitting our homes, we know that many people are not aware of the collection of newer fixtures and appliances, for instance heat pumps and induction cooktops. Active transportation and live-work-play development can reduce our need for energy. Battery storage tied to rooftop solar especially can be used to maintain all or just essential functions during a power outage.

Reducing energy use generally must also be part of the solution.

We have the knowledge, products, and experts needed to take this challenge head on. Investing in a renewable energy future now is the only sensible choice. Some solutions will actually reduce costs over time. Government is rolling out financial incentives with some in place already. Business and financial institutions are providing new investment tools.

As we work together toward a new future, we do so knowing that the cost of not acting will leave us vulnerable to accidents, leaks, and health impacts, and contribute to an unacceptable level of climate chaos and devastation.

Community discussion

Recently there has been a great deal of community discussion about the proposed City of Davis Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, drafted this summer, in particular, around actions proposing the next steps in home electrification. Action A.1 would call for building electrification at the end of useful life, while A.2 would call for electrification at time of sale. In this case, electrification means the installation of electric fixtures and appliances in residential settings instead of gas-powered systems. It is important to put these proposals in the context of where we on the path to transforming our energy use and sources.

The tough reality is that we have spent decades investing billions of dollars in systems based on fossil fuel use. Now faced with the necessity of removing these fuels, we must retrofit buildings, and our transportation and other systems as fast as possible to be ready for renewable sources attached to the grid. This is not easy at any level. But homeowners, property owners, businesses, and governments must move forward to save and renew what we can in the face of global climate change.

Visit our Ways to Save webpage for utility bill assistance programs.

Davis ordinance for all-electric new construction

As of January 2020, an all-electric reach code for new construction — promoted by VCAC and adopted by the City of Davis — was passed to incentivize all-electric single-family dwellings and low-rise multi-family buildings. A builder may choose to go all-electric up front or, if they build with mixed fuels, they must implement higher energy efficiency standards and include pre-wiring for all-electric appliances.This ultimately makes the all-electric option cost effective and allows builders to avoid the expenses associated with natural gas infrastructure. Households all over Davis are already retrofitting their existing houses to all-electric.

Incentives for electric appliances

California, the City of Davis, and Cool Davis have been promoting voluntary moves off natural gas for several years. Home energy rebate programs have helped households improve energy efficiency of their homes and now the state and federal government are set to provide extraordinary resources to cover some of the costs of these major system changes. Programs like the TECH Clean California program initiated last year allowed dozens of local homeowners and multifamily properties to move forward on these changes. While incentives are temporarily suspended due to higher-than-anticipated response, new funding for this program will be available soon.

CHOC Energy is rolling out a new program that aims to contribute further to the decarbonization of low-income communities through the electrification of living spaces. Upcoming electrification services will include the installation of heat pump water heaters and solar panels.

Rooftop solar required since 2015 for new construction

Davis has required all new homes and major renovations to include rooftop solar since 2015. Cool Davis solar task force chairman Aaron Nitzkin said, “Powering these appliances and systems, and helping make net-zero homes possible, is clean solar energy. Solar panels on rooftops deliver emissions-free power into the home. … Advances in all these clean energy technologies, dramatic reductions in costs, and the recognition by government leaders that homes can be all-electric without sacrificing creature comforts or breaking the bank, are making the shift away from fossil fuels realistic.”

Recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act has upped the incentives for rooftop solar. Read our article about the updates.

Cool Davis is here to help!

Cool Davis is dedicated to providing information and advice on the best options to retrofit existing buildings — especially homes — to be all-electric. We know it’s feasible for our households to start to remove natural gas and replace it with electricity. There’s great new equipment coming out and solutions for all different housing types. We have households moving on that right now in our community. Cool Davis will do all it can to provide people with information to get that done and to encourage the City to set even higher standards to get us all off natural gas…. We will be able to do our part for our region, for our state, for our country, and for this planet to remove fossil fuels from our lives. Going all-electric is one of the really important things we have to do to make that happen.

In 2019 Cool Davis began offering workshops for households to retrofit their home energy systems. Our 2021 Clean Energy Home Workshop is available right now for viewing on our Home Energy playlist on our YouTube site at #LiveCoolDavis. Looking forward to 2023, we plan to bring this workshop and others to your neighborhood including one-on-one support.

Visit our Home Heating and Cooling page to learn more

Photo credit: Yvonne Hunter photography

Support and resources for home electrification

Visit our Ways to Save webpage for utility bill assistance programs

CHOC Energy is rolling out a new program that aims to contribute further to the decarbonization of low-income communities through the electrification of living spaces. Upcoming electrification services will include the installation of heat pump water heaters and solar panels.

CHOC Energy: Free Decarbonization Services for Low-Income Residents

Valley Clean Energy offers the UltraGreen 100% renewable and carbon-free energy sources rate plan

Electrify Now

The Switch Is On

Incentives for going all-electric

TECH Clean California incentives for individual homeowners and multi-family units are temporarily suspended due to higher-than-anticipated response. Visit this site for updates.

Cool Davis Resources

All-Electric Heat Pumps FAQs

Heat Pumps Explained in Basic Terms

Turn off the Carbon Pump and Turn on the Heat Pump! Heat Pumps Explained in Basic Terms

How Smart Electrical Panels Manage Loads

Goin’ All-In with an All-Electric Home

California is leading the way forward

California has been moving toward electrification for years. Californians working at all levels in state and local governments have been working toward electrifying buildings and transportation and transforming our sources of energy to 100% renewables. We have set goals, benchmarks, and timelines to achieve this end. The vision is that no matter where your home or business is and where you plug in your car or appliance, it will be using renewable sources of energy.

Existing law requires the Energy Commission to assess the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial building stock by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

In August 2021, the California Energy Commission announced the 2022 Energy Code update, which revises energy efficiency standards for newly constructed buildings, as well as additions and alterations to existing buildings. The new code

  • Requires homes to be electric-ready, with dedicated 240-volt outlets and space (and plumbing for water heaters) so electric appliances can eventually replace installed gas appliances,
  • Establishes energy budgets based on efficient heat pumps for space or water heating to encourage builders to install heat pumps over gas-fueled HVAC units, and
  • Increases electric load flexibility to support grid reliability.

“Over the next 30 years, the 2022 Energy Code is estimated to provide $1.5 billion in consumer benefits and reduce 10 million metric tons of GHGs, equivalent to taking nearly 2.2 million cars off the road for a year.”  (Source)

In California Senate Bill 68 enacted 2021: “Therefore, it is a priority for the state’s climate policy to make it as easy as possible for building owners who choose to switch from fossil fuel-powered equipment to electrical equipment for heating, cooking, and other energy needs and to install EV charging equipment or energy storage systems for their buildings.”