Heat Pumps to Jumpstart Electrification in California
California recently became the de facto leader in electrification by delineating electric heat pumps as “standard” for most new homes and buildings in its 2022 code.
New single-family homes and some commercial buildings must use an electric heat pump either for space heating or for hot water heating. Multi-family units must use electric heat pumps for space heating. Otherwise, these projects will face higher energy efficiency requirements. In addition, even if they don’t install an electric heat pump, they must provide the wiring and space to make it easy to install one later.
Proponents say encouraging a major load like space heating or water heating to be powered by electricity will make it more likely that buildings will go all-electric. Others have argued that because the code only requires electric heat pumps, consumers may still opt to connect to natural gas lines to power other appliances, like stoves or clothes dryers. “Part of the savings of all-electric buildings comes from avoiding the costs of new natural gas hookups,” Sarah Golden argued in GreenBiz. “If houses are still piping in natural gas, the economics change, and will be more costly for owners if and when they transition to all-electric buildings.”
However, the code does include one more disincentive for such consumers; there are now stronger ventilation standards for gas stoves, after the California Air Resources Board declared they were a major health risk.
The 2022 code has already been passed by the California Energy Commission. If approved by the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC), it would go into effect in 2023.
Pearson, C. (2021, August 25). Heat Pumps to Jumpstart Electrification in California. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/heat-pumps-jumpstart-electrification-california