For Immediate ReleaseJuly 29, 2020
Marin County Sustainability Team coordinates money-saving rebates, advice
San Rafael, CA – With the help of the Electrify Marin rebate program, more and more Marin County homeowners have replaced natural gas- and propane-fueled appliances with efficient electric upgrades that improve home performance and reduce their carbon footprint.
An estimated one-third of the greenhouse gases produced in Marin County come from existing buildings, largely the result of natural gas and propane used by appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, cooktops, and ranges. Electrify Marin, a County program funded by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), seeks to reduce those emissions by incentivizing retrofit projects in Marin homes. Electrify Marin is managed by the Marin County Sustainability Team, a division of the Marin County Community Development Agency.
Since the rebate program launched in 2019, over $100,000 in rebates have been paid to Marin residents who have chosen efficient electric appliances over those powered by fossil fuels. The County also encourages new all-electric construction through an electric-favored reach code that goes beyond statewide green building standards. These rebates will be available through June 2021 or until all program funds are expended, whichever comes first.
In recent years, the electrical grid has gotten cleaner, with a growing proportion of our electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Local homeowners can opt into 100% renewable programs offered by MCE Clean Energy and PG&E. For homes with solar, electrification can be an ideal way to utilize the excess produced by the system to power the home, rather than sending it back onto the grid.
New appliances for water heating, space heating/cooling, and cooking also make the transition to electricity more attractive. Heat pump water heaters are the most efficient electric water heating option available. Heat pump systems allow for multiple temperatures zones within the home and provide heating and cooling with a single efficient appliance. Induction cooking equipment can improve a home’s indoor air quality, keep your kitchen from overheating in the summer, and afford faster cooking times and easier cleanup.
Those new technologies are more expensive than older models, so the Electrify Marin rebates are designed to bridge the price gap between a traditional appliance replacement and an efficient electric one, providing between $250 and $4,500 per upgrade, depending on the appliance type and household income level.
“I always encourage homeowners to prioritize projects based on the age of their old appliances and the amount of fossil fuels they use,” said Mark Chhabria, who coordinates the rebate program for the Sustainability Team. “Even if someone doesn’t want to go all-electric, replacing a gas water heater with an efficient electric one, powered by 100% renewable electricity, can reduce a home’s fossil fuel use by around 40%. That’s huge.”
Mill Valley resident Fabrice Florin did just that. When his old gas water heater was reaching the end of its useful life, he wanted to replace it with an appliance that would reduce his home’s carbon footprint. After learning about the Electrify Marin rebates and shopping around for the right contractor, he installed a new heat pump water heater and received a rebate of $1,000. Thrilled with the outcome, Florin said, “Since we use 100% renewable electricity from MCE, our water heating is now powered entirely by clean energy. Mission accomplished!”
Mairi Pileggi of Inverness has been moving away from propane for years, and with the help of Electrify Marin rebates, she now has an all-electric home. Pileggi added solar panels to her rooftop eight years ago, and has since replaced her propane furnace, water heater, and stove – all with efficient electric appliances. To ensure that that her home is prepared in the event of a power shutoff, she also added battery storage. Pileggi received a total of $3,700 in rebates from Electrify Marin.
“We’ve been meaning to make these changes for some time, and the rebates pushed the project forward for us,” Pileggi said. “We shouldn’t pass on our reliance on fossil fuels to future generations.”
In recent months, additional rebate programs for home electrification have come on the scene. The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is now providing rebates for homeowners to switch from natural gas to electric heat pump water heaters, home heating/cooling systems, induction cooktops and clothes dryers. Another new program is available from Stop Waste and MCE Clean Energy, paying rebates on heat pump water heaters directly to contractors, who can then pass savings along to clients. In many cases the programs overlap, giving homeowners the opportunity to get multiple rebates on the same project.
To take advantage of Electrify Marin rebates, email the staff or visit www.marincounty.org/electrify.
Mark ChhabriaSustainability TechnicianCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 308San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-3069Email: Mark ChhabriaCDA Sustainability website