The shift toward all-electric living is underway. But if you are a buyer in today’s new home market, how do you navigate the transition to ensure your house is not outdated before you’ve hardly settled in?
Matt Power, editor-in-chief of Green Builder magazine, says the best way is to concentrate on your home’s most significant energy uses first and tackle other uses as they come into the mainstream.
Here is Power’s list of priorities, which is the same one he recommends to builders looking to get ahead of the march toward net zero:
▪ HVAC. Specify high-efficiency electric heat pumps that perform well in extreme temperatures, the veteran journalist advises. And add smart thermostats that can adjust temperatures automatically; they can cut your electric demand by 20%. Meanwhile, current owners who want to switch to a heat pump may be eligible for a credit on their federal tax returns for 30% of the cost, up to $2,000. TOP VIDEOS
▪ Water heater. Select hybrid models that employ heat pump technology to extract moisture and heat from the surrounding air, Power says. Look for units with wire controls, leak detection, and vacation modes. Install your choice in a spot “where it can do double duty” by providing dehumidification.
▪ Vehicle charging. With the popularity of electric vehicles, the longtime proponent of net-zero buildings puts electric vehicle charging stations one notch above smart appliances. However, noting that electric cars and trucks are becoming one of the biggest energy guzzlers in new houses, Power says the timing of home charging needs to be managed, and the home’s wiring infrastructure needs to be set up for both supply and discharge. (For those in the market for electric cars and trucks, a tax credit of up to $7,500 can ease the pinch. But there are income limits: $150,000 for single filers, $250,000 for heads of households, and $300,000 for those filing jointly.)
▪ Smart appliances. Your appliances need to be “smarter” than what is, for the most part, being offered today. Today’s models focus more on lifestyle than efficiency, and Green Builder’s research shows most people never use their smart oven or refrigerator features. So look for units that reduce energy and water demands, i.e., shorter washing cycles for dishes and clothing.
▪ Dashboard. Power says the “best tool” for managing energy use is a control center that allows you to see what Power you’re using in real-time. It will give you “a way to centralize control of all your energy inputs with all your end uses,” he says. Some panels can even be configured to switch Power from one source to another during blackouts and outages.
Other similar articles at Our Blog: