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Climate Action Blog Series: Electrify your home & other sustainability news

Impacting the negative effects of climate change is important for all of us. Acting locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is key to making progress on this important global issue and why the City is asking residents to go electric at home. Thank you to the approximately 100 residents who joined us for the recent Making Better Choices in your Home workshop and for your commitment to taking climate action. The following community update offers new tools available to upgrade gas appliances to electric and make other home adjustments to reduce gas emissions. Read on as if you were at the workshop, talking to other residents on their experience switching from gas appliances to electric, and staff and experts on ways to gain valuable tips as we fight climate change together.

Wondering about Water Heaters?

At the heat pump water heater table, experts from Synergy Companies discussed new options to replace your water heater. Synergy is an energy and water efficiency contractor that may help lower your utility bills and increase comfort in your home or business. The City hired Synergy to implement the new full-service electric water heater program. Whichever option you choose, switching to electric is better for your health, your wallet, and the environment. Be a part of the community for change by upgrading your water heater. A new Advanced Heat Pump Water Heater Pilot Program will be available soon. 22 residents signed up seeking more information about switching from a gas to an electric water heater. You can sign up ahead of the program launch too!

New options rolling out soon include:

  • A full-service solution where a City contractor installs the electric heat pump water heater with different payment options: $2,700 due upon the completed standard installation or $1,500 due upon the completed standard installation with on-bill payments of $20 per month for 5 years. This solution includes a rebate without you needing to complete paperwork for the application.
  • The other option is a “Do It Yourself” application for a rebate. Qualified residents receive a $2,300 rebate and choose your own contractor to complete the water heater installation.

Learn more and sign up at www.cityofpaloalto.org/UpgradeYourWaterHeater.

Curious About Cooktops?

At the induction cooktop demonstrations, residents learned about their efficiency and how quickly this new cooktop can boil water. Induction cooking is safer, cleaner, and faster than gas cooktops. See what professional chefs think about induction and learn more about induction with this video! Still not sure if an induction cooktop is right for you? You can try it out for yourself through Acterra’s Induction Cooktop Loaner Program or get more information here.

Pondering Electric Panels?

Residents looking to upgrade home appliances to efficient electric alternatives may not know if their electric panel can handle a higher electrical load or an upgrade can be avoided. The workshop offered steps to take to check if you need an electric panel upgrade:

Step 1: Get an in-home or virtual home electrification readiness assessment to see if your electric panel can support electrification upgrades.

Step 2: If an electric panel upgrade is required, you’ll need to get bids from electricians who have experience installing electric panels.

Step 3: Get your project underway! Your electrician can guide you through the process. Be sure your electrician does not charge for permits before you make a final decision to proceed with work.

Learn more about electric panel upgrades here.

Excited About EVs and E-Bikes?

Electric vehicle (EV) chargers and E-Bikes were on display showcasing the benefits of all-electric transportation including being powered by Palo Alto’s 100% carbon neutral electricity.

Electric Vehicles (EV) use an electric motor powered by electricity from batteries. While the most convenient way to own an electric vehicle is by having an electric vehicle charger at home, there are also over 100 City-owned charging stations in Palo Alto available to the public. More models are being launched every year and there are many federal, state and local rebates and incentives available that make EVs more affordable.

E-Bikes: Palo Alto has been a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) as designated by the League of American Bicyclists since 2003; recognizing Palo Alto’s commitment to providing safe and accessible biking routes and encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices. e-Bikes are faster and won’t have riders sweaty at times when they don’t want to be. You can expect to get around 22–50 miles out of one charge. Check out Palo Alto Biking paths here.

For more information about electrifying your drive, visit cityofpaloalto.org/EV. For more information about bicycling and walking in Palo Alto, go here.

Green Building and Local Energy Code Update Approved by Council

At their October 17 meeting, the City Council adopted Green Building and Local Energy Code requirements that will go into effect January 1, 2023.

  • No new gas outdoor equipment infrastructure for pools, spas, and BBQ grills
  • Electric heat pump water heaters when an existing water heater is replaced or a new water heater is added as part of an addition and/or alteration project
  • New detached Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) to be all-electric
  • All new, non-residential construction to be all-electric
  • Expand EV charging infrastructure requirements for new construction projects
  • Adopt a “Substantial Remodel” definition that triggers the all-electric building requirements

These requirements seek to:

  • Increase water conservation and reduce water loss
  • Lower embodied carbon in new construction projects
  • Adopt low-carbon concrete standards
  • Reduce fossil fuel use in buildings
  • Expand EV charging infrastructure

While the State sets the minimum building standards every three years referred to the California Building Standards Code, local jurisdictions can enact more stringent local building standards based on unique local climatic, geologic, and topographic conditions.

For more information about the 2022 Green Building and Local Energy Code update, go here.

Past Events & Upcoming Ways to Be Engaged on Climate Change

SummerWinds Rain Barrel Workshop Event Recap: Thank you to SummerWinds Nursery for hosting everyone in their beautiful space to learn about the benefits of rain barrels. Visit the ways to Save page to learn more about available rebates, services, and resources.

Climate Summit: Join the City and local and regional partners for “Climate Forward: A Collaborative Summit and Workshop Between Science, Government, and You” on Saturday, November 12 from 1–4 p.m. at Henry M. Gunn High School’s Bow Gym. Climate leaders from all levels of government will share solutions, drive collective action, and create together the next sustainable step forward. Register Now.

Find future events and sign up for upcoming landscape workshops at cityofpaloalto.org/workshops.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION AND GET MORE ONLINE RESOURCES

  • Sign up to receive the monthly Sustainability Newsletter here
  • For details on the City’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/climateaction
  • Read previous Climate Blog Series posts here
  • For more on ways to switch from gas to electric in your home, go here: cityofpaloalto.org/GoElectric
  • To connect with the community on ways to take local climate action, visit the Sustainability Hub
  • For more on the City’s Green Building Program including trainings, go here

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Official communications from the City of Palo Alto. Connect about issues of interest to our community. Follow us on social media-www.cityofpaloalto.org/connect