Most headline news related to clean energy has been focused on glamorous things like highperformance electric sports cars, large utility-scale solar projects and exotic new battery technologies. But de-carbonizing means electrification of almost everything – including our homes. While heating and cooling of buildings accounts for only about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the USA (compared with transportation, which is 28%), it is nonetheless an important part of electrification.
How this is done in residential homes will partly depend on what the climate conditions are like where you live. But in most parts of the country it means getting rid of your gas furnace and switching to an electric heat pump.
Your air conditioning unit is also a form of heat pump It pumps heat INSIDE your home to the outdoors. An electric heat pump does the opposite. It pumps heat OUTSIDE your home to the interior of the home.
Whether or not this is the right thing to do now depends on the situation where you live. You need an energy and financial analysis which takes into account the type of home you live in, your electric utility rate plan, and whether any rebates are available in your area.
It also depends on whether you want to just replace your natural gas furnace – or replace both your furnace and your air conditioner at the same time – since a heat pump can serve both purposes.
And, as always these days, you need to look at installing a solar system, since you can generate electricity on your rooftop cheaper then buying it from the utility company.