California Energy Commission (CEC), the agency responsible for updating the state’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, hosted a workshop on the topic of pushing towards zero-emission buildings last month.
During the workshop, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District outlined a list of policy recommendations to mainstream zero-emission, all-electric buildings in California. Some of them can be taken into account and even implemented outside of California. Here are some ideas presented by them:
Include the cost of gas infrastructure in Title 24
The gas infrastructure was always considered to be effective by default. It was like that because it is discretionary and not accounted into the cost. If the cost of gas infrastructure is considered as an optional bonus, it will cause gas to be eliminated from new constructions.
Initiate a “pruning the tree” gas pipe pilot. When a gas pipeline reaches the end of its life, rather than paying to replace or repair it, money will be invested in upgrading the electric infrastructure. It will cost less and will still satisfy the customers.
Amortize electrification costs over multiple appliance life cycles
Now the cost for infrastructure upgrades in the home, such as wiring, the condensate drain, and capping the gas line in a heat pump water heater install, are paid at once. However, it would be more fair if the cost was amortized over several appliance life cycles and took a 50- or a 100-year view.
Incentivize cities to add all-electric building code provisions
It will commit to fund incentive for electric appliances, expressly to persuade local governments to update their building codes with provisions for all-electric new constructions or electric appliances. Providing rebates for three or six years,until this technology becomes the market norm, prices come down, and consumer awareness rises. Otherwise, people will not buy this technology and the code will not be able to pass.
Raising awareness among homeowners
The problem today is that the public awareness of these measures is zero. People do not know what is installed in their homes, how it affects the environment etc. The state has to put effort into educating people. For example, some awareness-raising events can be organized. The utility has already convened two awareness-raising events on heat-pump water heaters for local plumbers.