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Author: Kim Adams

Heat Pump Contractors Will Play a Key Role

With $25 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) dedicated to home energy efficiency and electrification upgrades, contractors and electricians will play a key role in helping homeowners take advantage of the tax credits and rebates. This article from RMI interviews Sealed, an innovative company that designs, manages, and finances home weatherization and electrification projects in five U.S. states.

Colorado Electrification Leadership Summit

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Mounted Heat Pump on Residential Home

The Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado (BEL-CO) is inviting utilities, local governments, new home builders, heat pump distributors, and other stakeholders to share insights and help us build momentum in electrifying Colorado’s single- and multi-family homes.

Discussions will include: 1) state policy updates and new federal funding to drive more building electrification, 2) opportunities/challenges in building more efficient and electric new homes.

Learn More

Colorado Heat Pump Rebates and Tax Credits for 2022 and 2023

Although there may be supply chain constraints on some heat pump products, 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.

Link to full article:

New Federal Policy to Increase Production of Heat Pumps

In early June 2022, President Biden authorized using the Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of heat pumps in the U.S., along with insulation and power grid components. This is certainly good news for heat pump supply chain issues! But according to this article, we also need to stimulate demand for heat pumps, such as through more customer incentives, government purchasing, and continued funding for research and development.

New ENERGY STAR Certification for All-Electric New Homes

In 2023, EPA’s ENERGY STAR program will launch a new certification program for new homes. The “ENERGY STAR NextGen Certified Homes and Apartments” program is a mostly prescriptive program with five requirements, which basically require the new home to be all-electric. The five required elements include:

  • Highly efficient building shell – 10% more efficient than required by the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (meeting ENERGY STAR 3.2 requirements),
  • Multi-speed ENERGY STAR heat pump,
  • ENERGY STAR connected heat pump water heater,
  • An induction cooktop and electric oven, and
  • EV-charging capability

This new program is an additional level of recognition for homes and apartments that go beyond the core ENERGY STAR residential new construction program requirements/recognition. As utilities begin to offer incentives to new home developers/builders to achieve the NextGen certification, this should help accelerate voluntary efforts to build more all-electric new homes.

The requirements for the NextGen program have already been finalized, but the program will be launched in 2023, after Energy Star develops the guidance documents, reporting templates, etc.

You can learn more about this new program here.

Stanford scientists find the climate and health impacts of natural gas stoves are greater than previously thought

A new study from Stanford shows that gas stoves have methane leakage rates much higher than previously thought – the impact from gas stoves in U.S. homes is the same as about 500,000 gasoline-powered cars, making gas cooking a significant contributor to global warming. In addition, gas stoves emit nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde, directly exposing people to risks of asthma and other respiratory issues.

Denver’s New Webinar Library is a Community Resource Repository on High-Performance Buildings

Looking for a one-stop shop for all things building electrification, energy efficiency, and Denver building policy? The City and County of Denver’s Webinar Library: High-Performance Buildings and Homes is just that. In addition to providing overviews of relevant policies, this webinar library seeks to bring the Denver community together to share ideas, successful case studies, and tips and tricks on building efficiency and electrification. Users can browse previous webinars and outside resources, as well as register for upcoming webinars. The page also features the Urban Land Institute’s Net Zero Energy (NZE) for Developers Training Series, which will support building professionals in the transition of Denver’s building stock to NZE by 2030.

By filling out the Request to Speak at or Suggest a New Topic for a Future Webinar survey, the Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency Office can better adapt to the community’s challenges and questions, especially with the rollout of new policies like the Energize Denver Ordinance.

The most recent webinar, Overview of the Energize Denver Ordinance, provides a wealth of information on the ordinance’s adoption process, addresses many of our community’s questions and concerns, and provides helpful resources. Last month’s Electrification Case Study: High-Rise Multifamily is an in-depth look at a condo complex in Denver’s planning and development process. The project’s engineers and developers explain their decision-making process, benefits, and challenges with this development. In February, the Electrifying New Multifamily Water Heating Webinar briefed the benefits and challenges of heat pump water heaters. Featuring a few successful case studies from a developer in Utah (systems plans attached on the webpage), the speakers emphasized the importance of very early planning and equipment ordering.

Building IQ Program Passes in Aspen

On April 12, 2022, Aspen City Council passed an ordinance approving the Building IQ program, an important milestone in helping the City of Aspen reach its science-based targets for reducing community greenhouse gas emissions. The ordinance applies to commercial and multifamily buildings within city limits and includes two components: energy benchmarking and building performance standards. The City of Aspen joins more than 40 communities nationwide that have benchmarking programs and eight communities with a building performance standard (BPS) policy.

The ordinance, effective June 1, 2022, will first focus on benchmarking, an annual process where buildings track and report their energy and water consumption over time. The simple act of benchmarking can decrease energy use by 2-3% per year. The second phase, building performance standards (BPS), requires property owners to meet performance targets by actively improving their buildings over time. The details of this phase will be designed through stakeholder engagement and defined by fall 2023. The program implementation will be led by a local nonprofit, Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), which will be responsible for supporting building owners and managers through every step of the process.

Logo for Love Electric

Love Electric aims to accelerate the adoption of heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and other efficient electric technologies in homes and businesses across Colorado, to lower consumer energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide improved health, comfort and other benefits. Love Electric is an initiative of the Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado (BEL-CO).

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