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Building and Home Electrification

Be Future Ready with Building Electrification! 

What is beneficial electrification? 

Beneficial electrification is the conversion of heating systems, equipment, or appliances to run on electricity, instead of using a fuel such as natural gas, propane, or gasoline.

Electrification is typically discussed alongside energy efficiency activities such as insulation and air sealing. Energy and cost savings from electrification depends on how well insulated and sealed the building is, and vice versa. It is important to also consider improving energy efficiency when considering electrification options.

What can be electrified?

  • Cooking equipment
  • Furnaces and heating and cooling systems
  • Water heaters and systems
  • Clothes Dryers
  • Pool Heaters

Looking for Qualified High Efficiency Contractors? Check out the following: 

Xcel Energy's List of Heating Efficiency Participating Contractors

Love Electric's List of Qualified Installers 

The contractors on Xcel Energy's list have met certain criteria which allow them to offer rebates to Xcel Energy customers. Xcel Energy does not expressly or implicitly guarantee or warrant the work of the contractors listed. It is solely your decision to choose the appropriate contractor for any work you choose to have done relating to the rebate program. On the Love Electric list, BEL-CO does not expressly or implicitly endorse, recommend, or guarantee the work of the contractors listed. It is solely the responsibility of the customer to choose the appropriate contractor for any equipment installation work you choose to have done.

Swap to save with electric! 

Swap your gas stove/range for an electric stove/range:

Electric Stove:

  • Electric cooktops, which provide conductive, centered heat for pots and pans are the most widely used gas alternative. An electrical
    current flows beneath the glass or ceramic top’s surface, through a metal coil that glows hot and then transfers heat through the smooth top surface utilizing infrared energy.  
  • Benefits: Electric stoves are low cost and reliable while providing even heating and easy repairs.

Induction Electric Stove

  • Induction cooktops use an electromagnetic field to generate heat directly in the cookware, meaning that the cooktop surface itself is cooler than a conventional stovetop. Induction cuts out the intermediate step of heating a burner and then transferring the heat to the pan. 
  • Benefits: Induction stoves offer precise temperature control, quicker heating time, even heating, improved safety, energy efficiency, and easy clean up. 

Swap your natural gas furnace for: 

Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP):

  • Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are essentiallyreversible air conditioners. To cool your building, they transfer heat from theair inside to the outside. To warm your building, they transfer and“concentrate” heat from outside air to heat inside.
  • Benefits: ASHPs deliver more than four timesmore heat than the electricity it consumes and thus is highly efficient. It functionsas heating and cooling ( ENERGYSTAR ®)and eliminates the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gasexplosions. These systems can work with existing duct systems or be ductless(see mini-split heat pump information below).

Cold Climate ASHP: 

  • Cold-climate heat pumps achieve better energyperformance at colder temperatures than standard heat pumps and are designedfor higher efficiency over the entire range of winter temperatures. The commonlyavailable cold-climate heat pumps provide 70-80% of the heat pump’s maximumheating capacity at temperatures as low as 5˚F. High end models can continue tooperate at higher efficiencies than electric resistance or gas heaters even attemperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit ( NEEA).
  • Benefits: These systems reduce household energyconsumption by up to 40% (high efficiency) and can minimize or eliminate theneed for backup heating since it functions as heating and cooling. It also eliminatesthe risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gas explosions.

Mini-split heat pump (MSHP): 

  • MSHPS are typically a type of air source heatpump (see above).
  • Benefits: MSHPs save energy by only heatingareas that are in use while being high efficiency and functioning as heatingand cooling. These systems are also easy to install and eliminate the risk ofcarbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gas explosions.

Cold-climate MSHP: 

  • Cold-climateMSHPs include all the benefits of a MSHP, with functionality in temperatures aslow as -13 degreed Fahrenheit

Ground Source (Geothermal) Heat Pump: 

  • Ground source heat pumps work the same as an airsource heat pump except it sources heat from the ground instead of from outsideair. Ground heat is conveyed to the heat pump via long buried pipes or tubes ofeither circulated water or air. Geothermal works well in cold climates since deepersoils maintain higher temperatures compared to outside air during winter months.
  • There is more availability of higher efficiencymodels compared to air source heat pumps ( NEEA),saving additional energy and associated costs. The EPA claims energy savings upto 44% compared to air source heat pumps and 72% compared to electricresistance with standard AC units ( energy.gov).
  • Benefits: High efficiency models are morecommonly available and these unites have excellent functionality in coldweather. These units function as heating and cooling while eliminating the riskof carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gas explosions.

Absorption Heat Pumps: 

  • Instead of using electricity, absorption heat pumps use heat, such as from solar or geothermal heated water to drive heating or cooling. This type of system is not as common as air source or geothermal heat pumps. Note that absorption heat pumps can source heat from natural gas-heated water, which is not considered electrified equipment
  • Benefit: These systems work especially well for niche situations where excess heated water is available. They’re high efficiency and function as heating and cooling while eliminating the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gas explosions.

Combination Space/Water Heating Systems: 

  • Combine space heating and water heating systemstogether through various system types. Typically, either an integrated system,or an indirect system where water is heated for domestic use and air is blownover the heated water to produce hot air for space heating.
  • Benefits: Has a mix of the benefits of otherheat pump system types listed above depending on the configuration

Swap your boiler/water heater for: 

Electric Heat Pump Water Heater:

  • Electric heat pump water heaters pull heat fromthe surrounding air and use it to heat water. These units expel cold air, whichis desired during summer months. During winter, this cold air is still warmerthan the outside air and should not be ducted out ( LoveElectric). Heat pumpwater heaters require installation in locations that remain in the 40º–90ºFrange year-round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around thewater heater ( Energy.gov). 
  • A heat pump water heater will reduce your energy costs for hot water by 65% compared to a conventional electric water heater, and by 75% compared to a propane water heater. Your energy costs for hot water will be about the same with a heat pump water heater compared to an efficient natural gas water heater.
  • Benefits: These systems offer excess spacecooling and high efficiency while eliminating the risk of carbon monoxidepoisoning, gas leaks, and gas explosions. 

Tankless (Point-of-Use) Water Heater:

  • Tankless (point-of-use) water heaters utilizeElectric Resistance heating rather than a heat pump and are thereforeinefficient. These units work best only if space constraints don’t allow for aheat pump water heater with a tank, or if total hot water need is extremelyminimal.
  • Benefits: These units take up almost no space,never run out of hot water, and eliminate risk of carbon monoxide poisoning,gas leaks, and gas explosions.

Swap your natural gas clothes dryer for: 

Electric Resistance-based Clothes Dryer:

  • These units heat clothes via electric resistanceheating, passing an electrical current through a resistive material (typicallymetal) that heats up to dry the clothes. This is the most common clothes dryertype.
  • Benefits: Electric resistance-based dryers havea cheaper upfront cost, are easier to install and maintain, and offer a greatervariety of models compared to gas ( U.S.News ). They also have ventless options if an outside connection is unavailable.These units eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gasexplosions .

Electric Heat Pump Clothes Dryer:

  • Electric heat pump dryers heat clothes via anair source heat pump. This type of unit is uncommon in the U.S. but is growingin popularity.
  • Benefits: Benefits include being more energyefficient than electric-resistance or gas units and also eliminate the risk ofcarbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, and gas explosions.

Electrification Resources: 

Energy Star® New Homes: Provides financial incentives as well as consulting and verification services to builders for homes that exceed the energy code by at least 10% and provides additional incentives for electric only homes. Look for builders that have experience with using this program.

Xcel Energy Equipment rebates: Rebates are available for energy-efficient electric and natural gas equipment. Related rebates include:

  • Air source heat pump (ASHP): Receive up to $800 for upgrading your heating and cooling system to an ASHP, delivering up to three times more heat than the electricity it consumes.1
  • Cold-climate ASHP: Receive up to $1,000 on a cold climate ASHP, reducing household energy consumption by up to 40%.2
  • Mini-split heat pump (MSHP): Receive up to $500 on an MSHP, saving energy by only heating areas that are in use.
  • Cold-climate MSHP: Receive up to $600 on a cold climate MSHP that has all the benefits of a MSHP, with functionality in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Ground source heat pump: Also known as a geothermal heat pump, save up to $400 per heating ton, for a maximum of $2,000.
  • Electric heat pump water heater: Receive up to $800 on electric heat pump water heaters, which pull heat from the surrounding air and use it to heat water.
  • Air sealing and wall insulation: Receive up to $200 for air sealing, $350 for wall insulation, and $400 for attic insulation. 

Please note, rebates periodically change. Please visit the Xcel Energy website to confirm availability and rebate value. 

Energy Design Assistance (new or major retrofit):

  • For buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. in early design stages
  • Consultation, computer modeling, and verification of energy efficiency measures
  • Incentives for electric demand reduction, gas, and electricity consumption savings

Energy Efficient Buildings (new or major retrofit):

  • For buildings 10,000 to 50,000 sq. ft. in construction, prior to contractor bid award
  • Consultation and project support to ensure project qualifies for rebates and maximizes energy efficiency

Need Help Complying with Colorado Building Codes?

Colorado Energy Codes and Standards Program: Xcel Energy provides no cost trainings and technical tools for builders, architects, code officials, plans examiners, and others to support education and compliance on existing building codes. This program includes support for Colorado municipalities that are looking to adopt new building codes.

Additional Resources

https://loveelectric.org/

https://beneficialelectrification-co.com/

Rebates and Financial Incentives! 

New rebates and tax incentives make this year — or next — an excellent time for homeowners to consider adding a new heat pump. Heat pumps are very similar to central air conditioning (AC) systems, but they have a reversible valve that allows them to provide both heating and cooling. Because Colorado’s electricity is becoming more and more renewable-based, heat pumps significantly reduce the home’s carbon emissions from heating.

  • For the rest of 2022, Xcel Energy is offering bonus rebates of an additional $700-1,000 on most types of heat pumps. These rebates should help increase heat pump sales during this calendar year.
  •  In 2023 the new Colorado State tax credit and sales tax exemption for heat pumps and heat pump water heaters will go into effect. The tax credit (10%) and sales tax exemption (2.9%) add up to an additional 12.9% discount on the price of the equipment, not including installation charges. For example, if the price of a new ducted heat pump is $8,000 (not including installation), then the tax credit and sales tax savings would amount to $1,032. (Note that the tax credit applies as long as the homeowner pays enough state taxes.)
  • The state tax savings on a new heat pump installation, plus utility and local government rebates, should be more than enough to offset the incremental cost of a heat pump versus an AC system.

Learn more by reading SWEEP's update here! 

 

Demystyfying Beneficial Electrification: 

Do heat pumps work in cold weather?

  • Cold climate air source heat pumps and geothermal heat pumps are able to function at cold temperatures that residents typically experience even in the coldest winter months. It is important to purchase a heat pump capable of meeting heating requirements at the expected cold winter temperatures.
  • Electric resistance heaters can be installed as backup heating to help heat pumps meet heating load even at temperatures below what they are rated for. Alternatively, if a building has an existing natural gas heating system, that can be maintained to be used as a backup option.
  • Cold climate air source heat pumps can meet heating loads even at temperatures of -10 degrees or colder (NEEA).
  • If in an area where high volume of snow is expected, the exterior units may need to be raised slightly above the ground to keep clear of the snow.

Do heat pumps work well in Westminster’s climate, even without a backup furnace?

  • For a new home in all areas of Colorado except for the mountain areas, a cold-climate heat pump system can work very well without a backup furnace depending on how efficient the home was designed and built. However, for an existing home in these areas with a gas furnace, it will probably be more cost-effective to keep the existing furnace as a backup. You can learn more here. 

How do electric and induction stoves compare to gas stoves?

  • Induction stoves have superior temperature control, quicker heating time, and even heating, allowing for easier, better cooking experiences compared to either electric resistance or gas stoves. They also do not heat up the stovetop itself, but rather the pot or pan, and therefore minimize the risk of burns. Indoor air quality is improved from not having indoor combustion of fossil fuels, which produce harmful pollutants. Induction stoves are energy efficient and are easy clean up due to their completely flat cooking surface.
  • Electric resistance stoves are cheaper than gas or induction stoves, are easy to repair, and more energy efficient than gas stoves

How do electric heat pumps compare by cost to standard furnace/ACs?

  • Electric heat pumps generally offer the cheapest way to cleanly heat and cool single-family homes in all but the coldest parts of the United States in coming decades, according to research released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). 
  • Learn more about cost comparisons here
 

 

Commitment to Sustainability

The City of Westminster and Xcel Energy are working together to facilitate an affordable, low-carbon future, community well-being, and a thriving economy through energy awareness, conservation, equity of access, alternative and renewable energy, and sustainable development. Learn more about our community Energy Action Plan here.