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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.