As the world becomes more conscious about climate change and carbon pollution, the demand for clean energy solutions has grown. Electrifying your home is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and create a healthier, more energy efficient space.

This guide will provide an overview of electrification in NYC, including the benefits of going electric, how to assess your home’s needs, and first steps in creating your own electric home in the city.

What does it mean to electrify your home?

Electrifying your home refers to the process of shifting away from traditional heating and cooling systems that rely on fossil fuels and transitioning to electric-powered systems that are powered by the grid or, even better, your own clean energy source like solar power.

This means replacing natural gas-powered appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces, and stovetops, with efficient electric appliances.

Home Electrification vs. Traditional Heating and Cooling Systems

Traditional heating and cooling systems, such as gas furnaces, rely on fossil fuels, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Electric heating and cooling systems, on the other hand, are powered by the home’s electricity source. This could be the power grid, or it could be a home’s solar PV system.

In terms of electric alternatives, homeowners can replace their older HVAC systems with electric resistance heaters or heat pumps. Out of these systems, the heat pump is the most efficient, producing the best results for space heating or cooling.

When combined with solar energy, electrification reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Plus, it’s much more cost-effective than pulling power from the grid.

Diagram comparing efficiency of furnace, electric resistance heater, and heat pump.
Electric Heat Pumps are more efficient than both furnaces and Electric Resistance Heaters. Credit

Why is electrifying your home in NYC important?

In 2019, NYC officials set an ambitious goal to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in a package of legislation called the Climate Mobilization Act

In NYC, buildings account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions. One of the ways the city aims to achieve its climate goals is by electrifying buildings. To encourage electrification, the government offers incentives, rebates, and financing options for homeowners to upgrade and retrofit their homes.

Switching from traditional heating and cooling systems to electric systems:

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improves air quality
  • Increases energy efficiency and home resiliency.

What are the benefits of electrifying your home?

Creating an electric home in NYC can provide several benefits, including:

Environmental Benefits

As of early 2023, fossil fuels still generate about 60% of energy in the United States. By upgrading to electric HVAC and appliances, you’re also:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improving air quality
  • Decreasing reliance on fossil fuels

Economic Benefits

Not only is switching to a more electric lifestyle great for the environment, it’s great for your wallet too! Upfront costs can be intimidating, but these systems pay themselves off (especially when powered by solar). When you go electric you can expect:

  • Increased home value due to upgraded systems
  • Decreased maintenance costs
  • Reduced energy bills

Health & Safety Benefits

In NYC, lots of homes and buildings still rely heavily on gas. This isn’t just an environmental concern. Recent studies have shown that gas stoves, for example, pollute indoor air by releasing high levels of nitrogen dioxide, causing negative respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes. 

Switching to electric appliances will:

  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Reduce exposure to harmful pollutants
  • Reduce risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from gas appliances
  • Reduce risk of gas leaks and explosions

How to Assess Your Home’s Electricity Needs 

Before you start electrifying your home, it is essential to understand how your home consumes energy and how you can improve its overall efficiency.

Here are some first steps you can take to assess these needs.

Conduct an Energy Audit

Planning a home energy audit is a crucial first step in electrifying your home, because it will give you a better base understanding of specifically where your home needs energy efficient improvements. 

Thanks to the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New Yorkers have access to several energy assessment programs that make creating a more energy efficient home easy and affordable.

Calculate Your Electricity Needs

Calculate your electricity needs by assessing your energy bills and understanding your energy usage patterns. 

If you’re planning any electric upgrades, you’ll likely begin using a lot more electricity than before. This is why many people install solar along with electrification, as it’s much more cost-effective than using power from the grid.

Review Your Home’s Insulation, Air Sealing, and Ventilation

Check your home’s insulation, air sealing, and ventilation to identify any areas where energy loss could be reduced. 

Insulation is an important part of creating an energy efficient home because it provides resistance to heat flow, and in turn, saves homeowners money on heating and cooling bills. It also improves personal comfort within the home.

How to Electrify Your Home in NYC

Going green has never been easier, especially when it comes to powering your home. Electrifying your home in NYC not only helps reduce your carbon emissions, but it can also save you a lot of money in the long run. 

Here are some energy efficient upgrades to consider when electrifying your home.

1. Install an Electric Water Heater

Switching from a gas water heater to an electric water heater, such as a heat pump water heater, is a great way to electrify your home and create a more energy efficient water heating solution. 

A heat pump water heater works by transferring heat from the air surrounding it to heat the water inside the storage tank. 

By removing heat from the surrounding air, heat pump water heaters not only create hot water more efficiently than a conventional electric water heater, they also dehumidify the surrounding area.

Heat pump water heater Sunset Park Brooklyn.

2. Installing Solar Energy

While making electric upgrades is great, powering them with clean energy is even better. With rising electric bills, solar power helps reduce monthly energy expenses all while reducing your carbon footprint. The average home in NYC can be powered completely by solar energy, even after making electric upgrades, meaning your utility costs will be virtually eliminated.

In NYC, there are rich tax incentives for homeowners to install solar panels, making it an attractive option for those looking to reduce their costs and improve their home’s energy efficiency.

If you’re looking to electrify, start with solar. We can help you prepare for your home’s increased demand and get you the best bang for your buck. Schedule a consultation today!

3. Adding an Electric Heat Pump

Electric heat pumps are a great way to electrify your home’s heating and cooling system. Air source heat pumps work by transferring heat from the air outside your home to the inside, meaning they use less energy to produce warm or cold air. 

Electric heat pumps are much more energy efficient and cost-effective than conventional furnaces or AC units. They’re much cleaner too, making your home a safer place. 

Your heat pump system can either heat and cool your home centrally through ducts, or you could set up a ductless mini-split system to give you control over the temperature of individual floors or rooms.

Interested in upgrading your HVAC system in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island? We’d recommend working with our partner, Winter Wolf in Park Slope.

Two pictures of an LG Ductless Mini-Split System.

4. Installing Efficient Lighting and Appliances

Switching to energy efficient lighting and appliances can help reduce your energy consumption and save you money on your energy bills. 

Look for appliances and lighting with the Energy Star label. This label indicates that they meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

5. Insulating & Sealing Your Home

Insulation is an important factor in energy efficiency. Insulating your home can help reduce energy consumption by keeping warm air inside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer. Proper insulation can also help reduce noise pollution and improve the overall comfort of your home.

Air leaks in your home can cause energy waste and increase your energy bills. Sealing these air leaks can help reduce energy consumption and improve the overall efficiency of your home.

6. Using Smart Home Technology

Smart home technology can help you control and monitor your energy consumption. You can set timers and schedules for your appliances and lighting, and monitor your energy usage in real-time.

7. Adding an Electric Vehicle Charging Station

If you own an electric vehicle, adding a charging station to your home is a convenient option that will help reduce your carbon emissions even further. If you’re thinking about powering your EV at home, using your home’s solar panels to charge your EV is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly way of doing so.

Photo of Electric Vehicle (EV) with tagline #solarpoweredcar.

Considerations When Choosing Renewable Energy Sources

Powering your all-electric home with renewable energy can virtually eliminate your utility bills, and it’s great for the environment too. If you’re looking to switch to clean energy for your home, here are some factors to consider.

  • Energy demand
    • Consider and assess how much energy your household uses and choose a renewable energy source that can meet your demand
  • Costs
    • Consider the upfront costs of installing renewable electricity sources, as well as the long-term savings on energy bills
  • Environmental impact
    • Powering your home with clean energy means amplifying the impact you’ve already made by electrifying
  • Government incentives
    • NYC solar incentives make New York City one of the best places to go solar, covering your upfront costs by up to 70%

If you’re considering electrifying with solar, we can help guide you in the right direction in terms of your energy needs and solar system size. Get in touch!

Generating Your Own Electricity in NYC

Generating your own electricity with solar panels can offer numerous advantages, particularly in densely populated areas like New York City. It provides homeowners with greater control over their energy bills, reduces reliance on the grid, and contributes to a more sustainable future

By harnessing the power of the sun, homeowners can become energy independent and make a positive impact – on both their energy bills and the environment.

Three pictures of solar panels and solar canopies in New York City.

Start Electrifying Your Home with Solar!

Electrifying your home in NYC is a great way to reduce your home’s energy costs and protect your family from health and safety risks. But powering your electric upgrades with a home solar system is even better, eliminating your Con Ed bills, offering independence from the grid, and significantly reducing your carbon footprint. 

By embracing solar energy, homeowners can take an important step toward electrifying their homes and contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.

Ready to electrify? Start with solar. Schedule a free consultation today!

Recent Posts

Cleaning up the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn

Apr 15, 2024

The Gowanus Canal, a waterway that goes through the heart of Brooklyn, is famous for its rich history and copious amounts of industrial pollution. However, recent efforts have been underway…

Using Solar Energy for Urban Gardening in NYC

Mar 28, 2024

With more than 550 community gardens spread across the five boroughs, urban gardening in New York City has seen a significant rise in popularity in recent years. One innovative approach…

Is my house a good fit for solar in NYC?

Mar 15, 2024

As New York City embraces sustainable energy solutions, many homeowners are wondering if their houses are a good fit for solar. With the growing interest in solar energy across NYC,…