Most of Us Care About Climate Change

Most Americans believe climate change is a problem and are concerned. However, many feel hopeless and helpless to do anything that will make a difference when it comes to carbon emissions and climate change. It’s an understandable feeling but not based on reality – because we can take measures immediately to get our homes and lives on the path to zero carbon. 

From Caring to Taking Effective Action to Reduce Carbon 

If you care about the environment and are concerned about global warming, you can now take many practical measures. First, make a plan, on paper or mentally, and commit to it. Humans rarely accomplish what they want without a specific goal, strategy, and commitment. Next, you can create a timeline for replacing each fossil fuel-based technology in your home, as the existing ones are ready to be replaced due to age, safety, inefficiency, or malfunction. And you can do the same with your gas-guzzling vehicles.

Start Now Electrifying Everything in Your Home

Rewiring America’s Electrify Everything in Your Home, subtitled “A Guide to Healthy Comfy, Carbon-Free Living,” can help simplify your planning. It’s a complete guide to rewiring your life, whether you are a homeowner or a renter. The Rewiring America Guide offers many steps that you can begin implementing now. Here is a brief overview: 

  • Purchase Renewable Energy: Contact your utility to switch to a renewable power plan if they offer one, or search for local community solar or wind projects that provide renewable electricity. Renters can do the same. See Chapter 1 for more details.
  • Upgrade Your Electrical Service: Check your electrical panel to determine its size and configuration. Renters can do the same and discuss it with their landlord. See Chapter 2 for more details.
  • Consider a Home Energy Assessment: Get a “home energy audit” or “home energy assessment,” including a blower door test. And get quotes for air sealing and insulating your home. Energy conservation will make electrifying everything much more effective. Renters can use the back of their hands or incense to detect air leaks. Use an ordinary caulking gun and weather stripping to seal any areas with apparent drafts. If air leaks and drafts are significant, bring them to your landlord’s attention.
  • Prepare for Heat Pump Heating and Cooling: Get quotes from more than one HVAC contractor experienced with heat pump installation. Be sure he uses your energy assessment and the Manul J  to size the unit correctly. Renters can consider purchasing a window or portable heat pump for heating and cooling. See chapter 3 for more details.
  • Prepare for a Heat Pump Water Heater: Determine whether or not your current water heater is gas-powered and how old it is—plan to replace it with a heat pump water heater if it’s over ten years old. Renters show your landlord the EnergyGuide savings for replacing your old water heater with a heat pump and install water-saving faucet and shower fixtures. See chapter 4 for more details.
  • Check out Electric Cooking: If you hold a magnet to your pans and it sticks, they will work with an induction cooktop. If not, buy a few metal pans and a portable induction burner for about $50 to $150. Then plan to have a 240V appliance outlet installed before replacing your existing stove with an induction stove. Renters can buy a portable induction cooktop that can plug into standard outlets and use it as their primary cooking surface. See chapter 5 for more details.
  • Check out Clothes Drying Alternatives: Check if you have a gas dryer and if you already have a 240V appliance outlet behind your dryer. If you have both, consider purchasing a heat pump drier when your current drier needs replacing. In the meantime, use clothes drying racks or clotheslines. Renters use clothes drying racks or clotheslines and consider a combo washer and condensing dryer that runs on 120V. See chapter 6 for more details.
  • Install Solar Panels: Use a website to check your home’s solar potential, and use Energy Sage to get initial quotes. Renters can get quotes and financing options to send to their landlord. See chapter 9 for more details.
  • Add Battery Storage: If you already have rooftop solar, check whether your installer or competitors in your area offer battery storage. Renters can check out standalone backup batteries. See chapter 10 for more details.
  • Get Ready for an Electric Vehicle: Calculate how far you drive on average in a day to determine the range you need for an electric vehicle. Then, check online for nearby public charging stations to determine the feasibility of using public charging stations. Renters can do the same. See chapter 7 for details.
  • Prepare for EV Charging: If you have a garage, check if you have a 240V appliance outlet to which you can connect a fast “Level 2” charger. Renters can ask their landlord and employer to install a Level 2 charger. See chapter 8 for more details.

The Electrify Everything in Your Home guide provides many more details, including an Electrification Planning Chart and checklists for homeowners and for renters. It also includes a section on “How To Pay For It,” starting with items with little or no upfront cost, such as switching to renewable energy from your utility. To access the guide and these charts and checklists, go to the Rewiring America – Electrify Home guide and enter your email address.

The Path to Zero Carbon: Electrify Everything and Button Up Your Home

Electrifying everything will shift your life from depending on carbon-emitting technologies to clean, highly energy-efficient technologies, including home appliances, HVAC, water heating, and vehicles. Air sealing and insulating your home will further conserve energy, and sourcing renewable energy will wean you completely from carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Don’t forget the side effects:

  • Lower energy bills
  • Improved health
  • A more comfortable home
  • A vehicle with outstanding performance
  • No more trips to the gas station

So, take the Electrify Everything Pledge and start down the path to zero carbon today!


By Joe Emerson, Founder of the Zero Energy Project

With special thanks to Rewiring America.