Building Electrification

Building electrification is the substitution of gas appliances (furnaces, water heaters, cooking ranges/stoves, dryers) with highly-efficient, safe, and clean all-electric alternatives (heat pumps, induction ranges/cooktops). Coupled with Piedmont's community choice energy provider Ava Community Energy's (formerly East Bay Community Energy) 100% Renewable energy service plan, Piedmonters can eliminate the use of fossil fuels in their homes. The benefits of building electrification include lower energy costs, enhanced indoor air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and more grid resiliency. 

See below for information pertaining to:

  • How to get started on your electrification journey
  • Electric alternatives to gas systems and current rebate and incentive opportunities by appliance type
  • Benefits of electrification 

How to Get Started on Your Electrification Journey

The City of Piedmont is encouraging residents to make the switch to electric appliances and backup batteries. By electrifying Piedmont homes and reducing natural gas use, Piedmont is tackling its second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (first is transportation-related activities). Electrification can be done all at once or incrementally, such as when an appliance is ready for replacement or when you are renovating parts of your home. Many replacements to existing gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives are simple and require no home modifications (e.g., electric laundry dryer, countertop induction ranges, portable space conditioning heat pumps). You can electrify on any budget, and often for an overall cost savings. Whether you can spend $5 or $5,000, there are options to move off of natural gas.

Building Electrification | City of San Jose

Electrifying your home? You are not alone! Here are a couple of action you can take right now:   

  • Purchase Renewable Electricity

    • In 2018, the Piedmont City Council voted to enroll all municipal and residential customers into Ava Community Energy’s Renewable 100 electricity service plan, which is powered by 100% renewable energy (solar and wind). More than 90% of Piedmont residential accounts enrolled in Renewable 100. Check to see if you are enrolled by logging in to your PG&E account.

  • Understand Your Home and Electrical Panel Before You Upgrade

    • Meet  with an independent and professional energy assessor to find out where money and energy can be saved in your home. An assessor will collect information during a home inspection walk-through and provide you with a home energy score and a personalized, detailed analysis about your home’s energy use, associated costs, and energy solutions to cost-effectively improve your home’s efficiency. They may also provide an electrification feasibility analysis. BayREN currently offers a $200 rebate for this process, which will cover most, if not all, of the expense. In addition, it is critical to figure out how your electrical panel is sized.
    • See below Electrical Panel: How it Works for instructions.
  • Start Small and Switch Appliances

    • Reduce your natural gas use and switch to electric appliances today. Consider purchasing a portable electric space heater to efficiently heat certain areas of your home. Also consider purchasing a portable induction cooktop or renting one through the City’s Induction Cooktop Lending Program. Additional electric appliances for your kitchen may include an electric kettle, instant pot/pressure cooker, and toaster oven.

  • Plan Ahead

    • Consult with a qualified BayREN Home Energy Advisor to receive free, unbiased advice about how to tackle your future projects and to learn about current energy efficiency rebates, tax credits, incentive, and more.

    • Speak with an electrician to see if upgrading your electrical panel is needed.

    • Thinking about installing solar and battery storage? First, check out to see how well suited your property is for solar. Google’s Project Sunroof uses Google Earth imagery to determine your own personalized solar savings estimator. Then check out EnergySage to research and shop for solar through their network of pre-screened, local installers. Finally, look at your electric bills from the last 12 months to get a sense of your average energy usage and how much your bill is.

    • Renovating in the near future? Start planning on what appliances you may be able to electrify, especially if you are replacing an appliance. If you aren’t replacing an appliance, consider installing 240V outlets in areas of your home which will be electrified in the future (e.g., kitchen for an electric range, laundry room for an electric dryer, garage for an electric vehicle charger). Begin to compile a list of experienced installers and manufacturers in the area, and explore what incentives are available

Additional Resources

  • Electrify Everything in Your Home, a guide to comfy, healthy, carbon-free living prepared by Rewiring America can be found here.

  • A Pocket Guide to All-Electric Retrofits of Single-Family Homes prepared by Redwood Energy can be found here.

  • A roadmap to a clean energy home can be found here.

Financing Mechanisms for Electrification 

Incentives & Rebates

Loans and Financing 

  • GoGreen Financing is a loan program administered by the State of California to finance energy improvements. Up to 30% of financing can be used on non-energy improvements. 

  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is a way for homeowners to borrow money for energy projects and spread the cost over a long period of time. Sign up for PACE financing with any of the providers listed with California Statewide Communities Development Authority's Open PACE program

Electric Alternatives to Gas Systems

Electrical Panel

Overview: Electrifying appliances in your home increases the power use in your home and could trigger an electrical panel upgrade if the current panel is close to capacity. In Piedmont, all new single family buildings and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) must be designed as all-electric buildings. In these houses, the electric service is typically at least 200 Amps or higher and is sized to accommodate electrification of all appliances (HVAC, water heating, clothes drying, cooking, EV charger). However, most homes in Piedmont are existing, older buildings that likely have only 60-100 Amp electrical services. If you have a panel with 60 Amps, transitioning to electric appliances will likely trigger a panel upgrade. If you have a panel with at least 100 Amps, there are options to avoid a panel upgrade, but you might also want to upsize it to 200 Amps. To electrify your home without upgrading the electrical panel, consider purchasing appliances that use less power (lower Amps and lower Volts), which will use less of your electrical service and cost less to operate over time, and using load sharing devices.

How it Works: 
The first step is to determine the capacity of your current panel. You can use this worksheet here to determine your general loads. Once you have this information, you can consider whether a service upgrade is needed. If you do have 100 Amps available, and already have air conditioning, there are strategies to avoid a panel upgrade. This will require choosing power efficient appliances and sharing amperage between major appliances. Devices called “Smart Circuit Splitters” allow two higher-powered devices to share a single 240V circuit, keeping the total load at a given time below the 100 Amps limit. You can use this worksheet here to gauge more specific calculations about your loads. Read about how to electrify your home without upsizing the electrical panel here from Redwood Energy

Cost of a Panel Upgrade: An electrical panel upgrade is a substantial investment but will move you forward on a path toward full electrification. Panel upgrades can cost between $1,500-$5,000, depending on the number of circuits. While it is an 8–10-hour job, it may take a month or more to schedule with PG&E.

Resources on Panel Upgrades and Local Installers: 


Heating and Cooling your Home: HVAC Heat Pump

Overview: Heating your home is the largest use of energy in households. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) heat pumps offer an affordable method to heat and cool your home. In fact, a heat pump can replace both your air conditioner and your gas furnace, leaving you with one appliance rather than two. The three main types of heat pumps are air source, split ductless, and geothermal. The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump. Advances in heat pump technologies have made them more efficient and reliable than ever. Portable air source heat pumps are also available on the market for those who want to electrify their space heating but may not have the budget or permission from a landlord to install a permanent, whole house solution. These retrofit-ready heat pumps can plug into any outlet and come with ducts that fit into an open window; they also can work as powerful dehumidifiers. Well-known heat pump manufacturers include Carrier, Daikin, Frigidaire, Fujitsu, Goodman, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Rheem, and Sanden. Portable heat pump brands include BLACK+DECKER, EdgeStar, Haier, and Whynter.


How Does a Heat Pump Work: Heat pumps take existing heat energy in the surrounding air and use it to help regulate the temperature inside your home (similar to the way a refrigerator or air conditioner works). By moving heat in or out of your home (depending on the season) rather than generating it, heat pumps help lower heating and cooling costs while delivering reliable year-round comfort. 

How does a heat pump work?

Cost of a Heat Pump:
Heat pumps vary in price from about $4,500-$12,500. An equivalent gas furnace can cost $2,000-$7,000. However, there are quiet, portable heat pumps that cost between $500-700. Heat pumps can have a greater up-front cost than gas furnaces, but are more energy efficient, meaning that they can be much cheaper to operate (more information can be found here). They are about as efficient as traditional AC condensers, but the heat pump can function throughout the year, while the AC condenser is only used during warmer months. Studies have shown that installing heat pumps in the Bay Area are cost effective, saving you money over the lifetime of the product. One study (below) found that replacing a standard AC unit with a heat pump saved money in 84% of households. Piedmont households fall under the “retrofit package” displayed in the image below because there is very little new land development. 

Heat pumps generate savings in retrofits

Resources for Finding Heat Pumps and Local Installers: 

Rebates for Heat Pumps:
BayREN is currently offering a $1,000 cash back rebate for replacing your gas furnace or conventional AC with a heat pump. Learn more about BayREN's heat pump rebate here. As of spring 2023, TECH Clean California relaunched incentives for single family heat pump HVAC systems at $1,000 per unit. Multifamily heat pump HVAC incentives from TECH Clean California are intended to launch in summer 2023. Additional incentives for heat pumps are available for single-family, duplex, ADU, and multifamily low-rise projects through the California Energy-Smart Homes Program. For ductless mini-split heat pumps, the current incentive is $325 per ton and for residential central heat pump replacing the incentive is $90 per ton. Learn more about the California Energy-Smart Homes Program heat pump rebates here. Starting January 3, 2023, the City of Piedmont is offering a $750 rebate for a ductless mini-split heat pump and $1,500 for a ducted central air source heat pump. These incentives are doubled for low-income residents. Learn more about the City of Piedmont's rebate program here

Key Takeaways:
 Heat pumps are becoming increasingly more popular due to their dual functionality and cost-savings. A HVAC heat pump is very likely to save households money over time, especially if replacing an AC unit in addition to a furnace. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike gas-furnaces, heat pumps do not emit carbon dioxide (though the electricity they run on may involve carbon emissions). Further information and requirements for installing Heat Pumps in Piedmont can be found here, as well as information on where to place your Heat Pump, and whether you require a Building permit and Planning approvalStill have questions? Contact BayREN’s free Home Energy Advisor service to help consult with you on the right approach for your project. 


Water Heaters

Overview: Heating water is often the second largest use of energy in the household. Replacing your gas water heater with an electric alternative will reduce emissions and potentially save you money. What alternatives to gas are there? One option is a Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH), which uses electricity to heat water. HPWH’s are over twice as energy efficient as standard gas water heaters, and are also more efficient than standard electric tank water heaters. They function like a refrigerator in reverse, drawing heat from the air and heating your water with it. HPWHs also typically come with electric resistance back up for peak loads. Another option is tankless water heaters, or “on-demand” heaters, which provide you with instant hot water and generally use less energy than traditional tank water heaters. This type of heater can lead to a reduced flow rate, which is especially noticeable in larger households. If you need more flow rate, installing more than one tankless heater can help meet your demands. These heaters heat water when the water begins to flow after the faucet has been turned on and the flowing water triggers the heating mechanism, meaning that there is no energy used to keep water stored in a tank hot. Well known water heater manufacturers include A.O. Smith, Bradford White, Daikin, EcoSmart, Fujitsu, GE, LG, Rheem, Sanden, and Stiebel Eltron. 

How Does an Electric Water Heater Work: Tankless water heaters work by heating water instantaneously without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water flows through a heat exchanger in the unit and an electric element heats the water. This results with a constant supply of how water. HPWHs use electricity to move heat from one place to another, rather than generating heat directly. To move the heat, HPWHs work like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator removes heat from an enclosed box and expels that heat to the air, a HPWH takes the heat from the air and transfers it to water in an enclosed tank, as seen in the image below. 

a diagram of how a Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) works
Image Source: U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Star 

Cost of an Electric Water Heater: Tankless water heaters cost between $1,000-$3,000. HPWHs vary in price from $1,200- $3,000. Overall, electric heat pump water heaters can cost more than traditional gas heaters. However, the added cost is not large, totaling at most $100/year over the lifetime of the appliance. You will be paying more on your electrical bill but much less on your natural gas bill. In addition, PG&E’s TOU plans can help you save money. 

Resources for Finding Electric Water Heaters and Local Installers: 

Rebates for Electric Water Heaters:
 BayREN is currently offering a $1,000 cash back rebate for HPWHs. Learn more about BayREN's HPWH rebate here. BayREN also offers up to $400 when you upgrade to a high-efficiency gas water heater. Learn more here. Starting in summer 2023, TECH Clean California will offer heat pump water heaterincentives in conjunction with the SGIP Heat Pump Water Heater ProgramAdditional incentives for HPWHs are available for single-family, duplex, ADU, and multifamily low-rise projects through the California Energy-Smart Homes Program. Projects with HPWHs replacing storage or tankless natural gas water heaters are eligible for a $450 incentive. Learn more about the California Energy-Smart Homes Program HPWH rebates hereLastly, PG&E offers rebates up to $300 for the purchase of a HPWH. Learn more about PG&E's rebates here. Starting January 3, 2023, the City of Piedmont is offering a $800 rebate for a replacement of an existing gas water heater with an electric heat pump water heater. Learn more about the City of Piedmont's rebate program here

Key Takeaways: Similar to heat pump HVAC systems, HPWHs are becoming increasingly  popular due to their energy efficiency and cost-savings. A HPWH is very likely to save households money over time. Tankless water heaters are advantageous because of their long-life expectancy, energy efficiency, space savings, and reduced wait time for hot water. View additional HPWH information on this pdf. Need help determining which type of water heater is right for your home? View page 45 of Redwood Energy’s Pocket Guide to All-Electric Retrofits of Single-Family Homes or contact BayREN’s free Home Energy Advisor service to help consult with you on the right approach for your project.


Overview: Gas cooktops do not emit as much greenhouse gasses as furnaces and water heaters, but they are still important, especially when considering the air pollution they cause in your kitchen. Most Piedmont homes currently have a gas range. Gas has long been considered superior for cooking when compared to electric ranges, but due to better temperature control and faster heating times, many chefs now regard induction cooktops as just as good, if not better. Induction cooktops are more efficient than gas, transferring over 80% of the energy to the food vs. gas’s 40%. You will use less energy cooking the same amount of food on an induction cooktop when you switch from gas. Electric coils and gas used to be the only cooktops available. Nowadays, electric induction stovetops are an affordable option for homeowners, and they are comparable to, or better than, gas cooktops in many ways. There are also many single-burner induction cooktops on the market for those who want to try out induction cooking. In fact, the City of Piedmont offers a free induction cooktop lending program for residents for just this very purpose. These 120V portable, single-burner cooktops can plug into any outlet in your home. Well known electric range and stovetop manufacturers include Bertazzoni, Bosch, Café, Frigidaire, GE, KitchenAid, LG, Miele, Samsung, and Whirlpool. 

Electric cooktop

How Does an Electric Range/Cooktop Work: Both electric ranges and induction cooktops use electricity to heat food. Induction cooktops heat food faster and offer better temperature control than electric ranges, and they are much more energy efficient. Induction cooktops work by using electric currents to directly heat pots and pans through magnetic induction, as seen in the image below. This results with heat energy created inside the pot or pan itself, rather than firing it from the outside. Electric cooktops work through a set of coils (exposed or inside the cooking surface) that get heated up through electricity when turned on. Most electric stoves use the same amount of space as gas stoves, but also require 240V power. This is not the case for countertop induction cooktops, which use 120V electricity and can use any of your existing kitchen plugs. Electric cooking comes in a variety of technologies: standard electric, glass top radiant electric, and induction. Any pan or pot that a magnet can stick to works well for electric cooking. 

Schematic of the principle of induction stove | Download Scientific Diagram
Image Source: ResearchGate

Cost of an Electric Range/Cooktop: Induction ranges cost between $1,000-$5,000. Higher end and retro-induction ranges can cost even more. Electric and glass top radiant ranges cost between $300-$2,000.  This can be more expensive than a gas stove, but the advantages that electric brings to your kitchen help explain the price difference. If a homeowner has solar panels, the added cost of an electric range should be cheaper still. One estimate says that electricity costs for a year can be $30-40 while gas costs $20-60. Portable, plug-in induction cooktops can cost as little as $50 for one burner and $140 for two burners. Additionally, induction offers safety and health benefits that gas cannot provide. Electrical induction only heats magnetic pans and pots (cast iron or stainless steel), meaning that you won’t burn yourself by accidentally resting your hand on the cooktop. There is no risk of a gas leak when cooking with induction. Gas cooktops are one of the primary contributors to pollution in the kitchen. They emit formaldehyde and carbon monoxide when you cook. Induction cooktops do not emit any pollution into your home while cooking.

 Comparing Cooktops
Issue Induction Gas
Efficiency  >80% efficient 40% efficient
 Safety Low risk of burning, no emissions Open flame, emits carbon monoxide and formaldehyde
 During emergencies When paired with solar and batteries, can continue to run. Otherwise, shuts off with electricity. Shuts off with natural gas during emergencies.
Cost A standalone burner can cost $60, while a 4 burner unit can cost $700 and more.  Many homes already have gas cooktops, but a new one can range from $500 to over $1000.

Resources for Finding Electric Ranges/Cooktops and Local Installers: 

Rebates for Electric Ranges/Cooktops:
 BayREN is currently offering a $250 cash back rebate for replacing your natural gas stove with an induction range or cooktop. Learn more about the induction cooktop rebate here.

Key Takeaways: Electric stoves are generally safer, easier to maintain, and easier to turn off and off and cool down faster. Professional and home chefs appreciate the precise, steady control, wider temperature range, and quick response time they get with electric cooktops. Learn more about induction cooking on the factsheets found here and here

Clothes Dryers

Overview: Most homes have either a gas clothes dryer or an electric clothes dryer. On average, laundry dryers have a 10-year lifespan. While traditional electric dryers do not burn gas, they are less efficient than gas dryers. So, when you are ready to purchase a new clothes dryer, consider making the switch to a heat pump laundry dryer. Heat pump dryers can be easily installed as they do not require venting, are gentle on your laundry (since they dry at a lower temperature), and help reduce your monthly energy bill. Electric resistance and heat pump dryers both use 240V power. You could also consider a condensing wash/dryer, which uses a 120V plug and adds the convenience of having a single appliance rather than two separate machines. Well known electric laundry dryer manufacturers include Beko, Bloomberg, GE, LG, Kenmore, Miele, Samsung, and Whirpool. 

How Does an Electric Laundry Dyer Work: Using electricity to power your laundry equipment can reduce emissions and get rid of some of the safety risks associated with gas (Source). Condensing washer/dryers combine both space and energy efficiency. They are also ventless. Heat pump dryers work as a closed loop system by heating the air using it to remove moisture from the clothes and then reusing it once the moisture is remove. A heat pump dryer recycles air through an evaporator that removes moisture without losing heat. Since heat pump dryers do not require ventilation, they use less electricity. 

  Heat Pump Clothes Dryer | Department of Energy Image Source: U.S. Department of Energy 

Cost of an Electric Laundry Dryer:
 Combination condensing washer/dryers cost between $700-$2,000. Electric clothes dryers cost between $400-$1,200. Heat pump clothes dryers cost between $600 to $1,400. Heat pump clothes dryers can be more expensive than gas clothes dryers, and electric clothes dryers can be about the same price. Gas dryers rely partly on gas to heat the elements, while electric dryers only use electricity. Electric Dryers use more electricity when drying, but don’t emit greenhouse gases if the electricity generated from 100% renewable sources. They also should be the choice for a home with a solar energy system. Electric options also need a 240 volt outlet to run. Heat pump dryers are also an option, but they are typically more expensive and do not perform as well when compared to electric dryers. One advantage of heat pump, in addition to their reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, is that you don’t need to vent them outdoors at all.

Information about clothes dryers

Resources for Finding Electric Laundry Dryers and Local Installers: 

Rebates for Electric Dryers:
 BayREN is currently offering a $300 cash back rebate for replacing your gas dryer with a high efficiency heat pump dryer. The replacement dryer must be listed as ENERGY STAR Efficient. Learn more about the heat pump dryer rebate hereAdditional incentives for heat pump dryers are available for single-family, duplex, ADU, and multifamily low-rise projects through the California Energy-Smart Homes Program. Projects removing a gas powered dyers with a heat pump dryer are eligible for a $500 incentive. Learn more about the California Energy-Smart Homes Program heat pump dryer rebates here

Key Takeaways:
Long popular in Europe, but relatively unknown in the United States, heat pump clothes dryers are energy-efficient and offer other benefits such as being less abrasive on your laundry due to the slightly lower temperatures. Additional information about Heat Pump Clothes Dryers can be found here

Additional Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Upgrades should not stop with just appliances. Many of these options, specifically space and water heating, will work best in tandem with insulation and other energy improvements. This will allow a household to fully take advantage of energy improvements. We encourage residents to get an independent energy audit to fully understand which improvements would be best for their house. BayREN currently offers a $200 rebate for receiving a home energy score and offers suite of rebates in other areas such as air sealing (up to $150), duct sealing or replacement (up to $800), and insulation (up to $1,000). 

Benefits of Electrification 

Enhanced Resiliency

Switching from gas appliances to electric can make you more resilient to unexpected events. Gas can be cut off during an emergency, such as a fire or earthquake. Gas lines also have their own dangers, such as leaking or explosions. Electricity can also be cut off during an emergency, but there is no risk of dangerous leaks or explosions. When paired with solar panels and batteries, electricity can help make your home resilient to power outages as well. The energy generated by the solar panels and stored in the batteries can be used for power when your electrical service is shut off. This combination can both decrease danger, such as gas leaks or explosions, and increase resiliency, such as giving you different choices for power. Read through our solar page to understand more about the benefits of solar to your all-electric home. All of these upgrades will benefit from a robust system of backup power. Learn more by browsing through our guide to back up power.

Enhanced Indoor Air Quality

Although many of us don’t think about it, indoor air quality is important to our long term health. Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors, a number which may be higher during the coronavirus pandemic and smoky wildfire season. Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air (when fires are not contributing to outdoor air quality). There can be numerous sources for indoor air pollution, but some of the more common ones include combustion sources such as gas and oil. Switching out gas stovetops and heaters are a relatively easy source to improve your home’s air quality. Gas appliances release formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide. Switching to electric stoves and heat pumps can reduce the risk of these pollutants in your home.

Long-Term Cost-Savings 

Although switching to all-electric might sound expensive at first glance, there are ways to make it easier and less expensive. It will also benefit your household in numerous ways. Things to keep in mind include:

  • Cost of gas and electricity in the future: If approved, the General Rate Case for PG&E would mean approximately a 6% increase in natural gas rates between 2018 and 2022. Electricity rates are expected to increase by about 12 cents per kWh in 2021. While the costs of both utilities can increase, it is expected that natural gas prices will increase faster than electric prices. This can mean that switching to electrification could potentially bring about cost savings to your household.Expected cost of energy

  • Savings from electricity: A study from research firm E3 found that in almost all cases, building electrification will deliver lifecycle cost savings for most home types in the Bay Area. For homes with air conditioning, the savings are particularly certain. You can find the report and read more about their findings here.
  • Electric appliances can have a high upfront cost, but research shows it is worth it in the long run. Homes with electric appliances are likely to save money. You can refer to the attached spreadsheet to look more closely at different appliances and how much they are anticipated to save a household.
  • Added cost to ADU’s: When building a new structure (such as an accessory dwelling unit or a new primary dwelling), adding a gas line to the unit can cost several thousand dollars (see below). Using all electric appliances means there is no need to add a gas line.
  • Estimated cost of gas

  • Time of use (TOU) rates are something that commercial buildings have enjoyed for many years. These rates are now available for residential accounts. A TOU rate means that the cost of electricity changes at different times of day. If you use electricity during “off-peak” hours, electricity can be much cheaper. Log into your PG&E account to learn more about time of use and determine if it makes sense for your household. In the example below, customers pay more between 4 and 9 p.m. while using electricity during other hours of the day is cheaper. You can pick different peak periods depending on the rate plan you choose. Different rate plans have different pricing and baselines. This lets you pick better options for your household based on your energy usage. If you use more electricity, picking a tiered rate plan that reflects that can be a good decision.
    Peak pricing

Electric Vehicles: If you own an EV, call PG&E to inquire about different pricing tiers for electricity rates. You are eligible for a different tier rate if you charge at home, meaning that you can charge your vehicle using cheaper electricity. This is another reason why switching to an electric vehicle is a worthwhile switch. Also, check out our Electric Vehicles page for more information.