San Francisco Department of the Environment

Getting to Zero Emissions with Building Electrification

Find rebates and other incentives to help you save money when transitioning from natural gas to renewable electricity. While natural gas is a fossil fuel and will always create emissions and contribute to local air pollution, electricity is increasingly generated from carbon-free resources like wind and solar.

What Is Building Electrification?

Building electrification refers to replacing gas equipment and appliances (furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, and stoves) with efficient, all-electric technologies such as heat pumps and induction cooktops. When run on renewable power, these electric technologies reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and are cleaner and healthier than living with natural gas.

Benefits of Going Electric

Performance: In addition to being 3-5 times more efficient than gas systems, heat pumps for space conditioning and water heating are quiet, dependable, and will increase the comfort of your home. Heat pumps can provide both heating and air conditioning to help deal with San Francisco’s increasing temperatures, and they work even better when combined with proven energy efficiency measures like air sealing leaky walls and insulating attics.

Health: Efficient all-electric buildings reduce indoor air pollution caused by burning natural gas inside your home and limit exposure to harmful combustion by-products that can trigger or even cause asthma.

Jobs: Electrifying San Francisco’s buildings will create local jobs for skilled workers needed for new construction projects and to retrofit existing buildings.

Environment: Efficient all-electric technologies will reduce your carbon footprint. When paired with renewable electricity, building electrification supports the City of San Francisco’s goal of being emissions-free by 2050.

How to Electrify Your Home

Electrification can be implemented in gradual steps or all at once, and can be successful on any budget – often for an overall cost savings. The best time to electrify is when you are going to replace a major appliance or remodel a kitchen or a whole home.

Choose 100% renewable electricity: Switch to 100% renewable electricity with CleanPowerSF’s SuperGreen option to ensure your power has the lowest amount of emissions possible.

Switch to electrical appliances: Use less natural gas by switching to electric appliances. Relatively inexpensive everyday electric appliances that can be among the easiest to swap include electric kettles, space heaters, and induction stoves or portable plug-in cooktops ("hobs"). 

Go electric when replacing your home furnace and water heater: Before your major equipment breaks down, make a plan to replace them with efficient all-electric options. Have a licensed contractor check your electrical panel to make sure it can support any new electrical appliances, or even a future electric car, and upgrade if needed. Talk to a few experienced appliance installers and manufacturers, so you’re ready for replacement when the time comes.

Electrification Rebates and Financing

BAYREN Home+ Energy Advisor
BayREN (Bay Area Regional Energy Network) offers rebates up to $5,000 for electrification upgrades including heat pumps for space and water heating, heat pump clothes dryers, and induction cooktops, as well as established energy efficiency measures such as adding insulation and sealing up hidden gaps that cause drafts. Home Energy Advisors are available to help you through every step of the process, connect you with vetted contractors, and answer questions.

PG&E residential energy efficiency rebates
PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) offers rebates for high-efficiency home appliances and other items that can help save energy such as smart thermostats, LED light bulbs, efficient refrigerators, and heat pump water heaters.

Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL)
Administered by the California State Treasurer’s Office, the REEL program (Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Assistance) offers homeowners and renters access low-cost financing for energy efficiency projects, including heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and other efficiency upgrades.

San Francisco’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program can finance energy-saving, renewable-energy and water-saving home upgrades for homeowners with no down payment, no minimum credit score, long repayment terms, and easy payments through your property tax bill. PACE is supported by consumer protections overseen by the State of California. Current San Francisco providers include:

Federal Solar Tax Credits Factsheet (PDF, Solar Energy Industry Association)
Also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), this federal program allows you to deduct a percentage of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The value of the ITC does not have a cap. It applies to both residential and commercial systems, and stepped down to 26% in 2020.

Bay Area SunShares
SunShares offers rooftop solar and electric car group purchasing discounts to Bay Area residents every fall. Check the SunShares website soon for details about the next upcoming application cycle. 

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