Guest Commentary: Cool Davis Receives $6,000 for All-Electric Engagement Programs

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VCAC president Joshua Cunningham handing a check from six feet away to Cool Davis executive director Chris Granger in front of a ZNE (zero net energy and no natural gas) LEED platinum building on 4th and D streets this past June. Both wore face coverings but removed them briefly for the photo-op. Photo credit: Johan Verink.

by Leslie Crenna

The Valley Climate Action Center (VCAC) recently provided $6,000 to Cool Davis to continue their work engaging Davis residents to adopt all-electric heating and cooling systems. The funds will also be used to develop an electric retrofit “roadmap” for existing homes, going directly to programs designed to help Davis households lower their use of natural gas.

An event to mark the occasion included VCAC president Joshua Cunningham handing a check from six feet away to Cool Davis executive director Chris Granger in front of a ZNE (zero net energy/no natural gas) LEED platinum building on 4th and D streets this past June. Both representatives wore face coverings but removed them briefly for the photo op.

VCAC President Joshua Cunningham said, “Moving away from fossil fuels and natural gas is absolutely critical to meet our City’s climate targets; we have a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 and there’s actually no way to do that without moving away from natural gas in the residential and commercial sectors. VCAC is proud to be able to support this effort financially. We have technical advisors and experts to understand how this transition occurs, but Cool Davis is the organization that has the leadership role with community engagement and behavioral choices. It’s going to require community support organizations like Cool Davis who do direct engagement with homeowners.”

Households already moving to all-electric in Davis

During the check-passing ceremony, Cool Davis Executive Director Chris Granger stated, “We know that 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. With these funds, 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.”

Cool Davis released a video to announce the funding and celebrate what community members are already doing. The video highlights existing and well-tested all-electric technologies as well as simple steps everyone can take to move beyond natural gas.

www.cooldavis.org/all-electric

https://youtu.be/UWtk6n79o0E

Moving our community towards a better and brighter future

With these new funds in hand, Cool Davis plans to provide guidance for households, host workshops, produce how-to videos, promote applicable incentive and rebate programs, and highlight stories of community members already taking steps towards reducing fossil fuel usage.

Cool Davis also plans to develop a retrofit roadmap to establish a game plan for Davis homes to move toward energy efficient, all-electric households. This roadmap will give homeowners step-by-step guidance. The VCAC grant will facilitate coordinating the work of UC Davis student volunteers and integrating activities with the overall Cool Davis energy campaign.

New construction in Davis has already gone all-electric

The VCAC grant will allow Cool Davis to provide information and advice on the best options to retrofit existing housing to become all-electric. New construction has already received an all-electric jump start. As of this past January, an all-electric reach code for new construction — promoted by VCAC and adopted by the City of Davis — is designed 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 expense of natural gas infrastructure.

Relevant state decisions, the full City staff report, and the City ordinance can be found on the City of Davis website. http://documents.cityofdavis.org/Media/Default/Documents/PDF/CityCouncil/CouncilMeetings/Agendas/20190924/07-Residential-Energy-Efficiency-Reach-Code.pdf

State heat pump water heater rebates

A statewide effort to substitute heat pump water heaters for the gas heaters now used in most California homes is underway. The state is expected to initiate a $44 million incentive program for all-electric heat pump water heaters in coming months. Cool Davis plans to help disseminate information about this program and hopes to receive additional funds from VCAC to further for this work.

To learn more, visit our Home Heating and Cooling page (www.cooldavis.org/home-heat-cool).

Cool Davis accepts tax-deductible donations, visit www.cooldavis.org/donate-now to donate now. If your business or organization is interested in sponsorship opportunities, email sponsorship@cooldavis.org.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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4 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Cool Davis Receives $6,000 for All-Electric Engagement Programs”

  1. Todd Edelman

    Credit to Cool Davis for all of this and trying to help me get assistance – from another organization – with energy efficiency and savings in a rental, BUT the assistance never happened. New builds are one thing but there are tens of thousands of renters in Davis and many live in places with windows that have never been updated, old appliances and worse. Do we have an inventory for any of this? The City needs to assign staff to the task and ask the Natural Resources Commission and Social Services Commission to help work on it.

    Moreover, rentals with old school everything don’t generally seal well during wildfire fallout events, such as the current one, setting records for duration and possibly also intensity.

    I’ve suggested that the deeper solution for both – a holistic treatment – could be something like the “Davis Renters’ Energy Equity Program”.

    All the City’s done to help so far specifically and recently targeted as renters is open the multi-purpose room at the Senior Center as a “cooling” or “clean air” shelter. But the “clean air” is dubious as they’re planning to update to MERV 13 from MERV 8 (MERV 13 is the standard filter media in new HVAC installations; MERV 8 does not filter the worst of wildfire smoke). Related: On Tuesday you can make the City Council enact a ban on leaf blowers through the end of October.

    Anyway, back to rentals: PG&E gives discounts for low income and also if you can prove use of a medical device that requires electricity. The savings are appreciated but don’t encourage energy savings. They do have a separate program where low-income and other challenged households are assessed and can get upgrades, and I think it can support purchase and installation of energy-savings equipment. It’s not clear, however, how many take advantage of it and if PG&E really markets it as well as they can or if it’s more about a mandate from CPUC or another entity, or just poorwashing of all the company’s misdeeds. It’s not clear why landlords don’t push it as it might pay for upgrades in buildings they own (which brings up other questions, yes?).

    Going forward, renters need to be as empowered to save power as owners, so that they do can also own their empower… okay you get the point. I would still really like Valley Clean Energy to take over the grid and all the energy generation; they would probably get more support for this from renters if renters really got something out of it. Perhaps Cool Davis can get a grant to help make this happen…

    1. Richard McCann

      Todd

      VCEA started to take a look at acquiring PG&E’s distribution network during the bankruptcy proceedings. I don’t know where that stands, and I suggest that you reach out to the Board members and the Citizens’ Advisory Committed to find out more.

      1. Bill Marshall

        VCEA started to take a look at acquiring PG&E’s distribution network….

        Neat concept, stupid timing… unless it is brought up to ‘near new’ before acquisition… the distribution network is not much better than the transmission network… like buying an old car, 8 cylinders, hitting on maybe 6… 350,000 miles, no warranty, and asking showroom prices… not convinced by far, that VCEA has the competency to evaluate the risk nor liability of doing so.  Just my opinion… it could be a ‘bail-out’ of PGE, with the public taking all the risk and liability for a ‘less than new’ system…

        Be careful what you ask for…

  2. Richard McCann

    As a member of the VCAC Board, I wholeheartedly endorse contributing to Cool Davis’ efforts in these program areas. The single most important aspect is that these will enhance our knowledge about how to design and implement successful programs that reach more widely, both in Davis and across the nation.

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