New Electric Equipment That We’re Really Excited About:
Recently, new electric models of all sorts of equipment are popping up everywhere, from electric cars to electric lawn mowers. For us at the Compact, this trend toward electrification is exciting; electric equipment has many benefits, chief among them is that they’re less polluting.
In the current context, electrification refers to opportunities to switch equipment that uses a fossil-fuel based energy source – like gasoline, natural gas, or heating oil – for equipment that uses electricity.
Switching from directly burning fossil fuels to electricity reduces carbon pollution. Even though our power grid is not carbon zero yet, our current electricity mix is much cleaner than small engine fossil fuel combustion, and it will continue to get cleaner as we add more renewable power to the grid.
In addition to being better for the environment, electric equipment is better for local air quality and typically requires less maintenance than oil and gas alternatives. All these impacts help increase the health and safety of our communities and families. In this article we highlight some of the opportunities to go electric that we’re most excited about.
Heating and Cooling with Heat Pumps
Space heating is the largest energy demand for most homes and businesses in the northeast. Heat pumps operate fundamentally differently than furnaces and boilers. Where furnaces and boilers burn fuel to create heat, heat pumps capture and move heat from one space to another, typically from outside to inside for heating. Because heat pumps move heat rather than create it, they are very efficient; the most efficient furnaces and boilers are 95% to 98% efficient (meaning 95% to 98% of the energy they use gets delivered as heat). For heat pumps, the relative energy use to heat delivered can be over 300%!
Cold climate heat pumps can even work in temperatures as low as -15 °F. You can read more about different types of heat pump systems in our earlier article, Your Heat Pump Options.
In addition to being efficient and an environmentally cleaner heating source, heat pumps also offer heating and cooling in one system. In the summer, your heat pump can work as an air conditioner by moving heat from inside your space to outside.
The Benefits of Induction Cooking
Wouldn’t it be nice to cook on a stove that gave you the temperature control of a gas stove without the fumes and the risk from an open flame? Induction cooking provides just that! In fact, induction cooktops provide even more precise temperature control than gas stoves. These cooktops use electromagnetic technology to heat the pot or pan directly, also making them more energy efficient than traditional electric stoves.
Induction stoves are exciting because their benefits go beyond being a better environmental choice. Yes, they’re more efficient than traditional electric stoves, and operate more cleanly than gas stoves, but they also have higher performance and don’t have the major indoor air quality concerns of gas stoves. Gas stoves, particularly when unvented, can be a significant source of indoor air pollution. Research has shown that gas stoves can raise indoor levels of harmful pollutants like NO2 above federal standards for safe outdoor air and increase the risk of respiratory conditions like asthma. And according to a recent study by Stanford University, gas stoves leak methane even when they’re turned off – contributing to greenhouse gas emissions AND running up your gas bill.
Battery Powered Lawn Equipment
Batteries can now power full-sized trucks, so powering lawn equipment is a piece of cake! Battery powered lawn equipment – including mowers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws – is another new technology we are excited about because the benefits go beyond just being cleaner. Battery powered lawn care tools are quieter, more environmentally friendly, easier to operate, and require less maintenance. This spring, we’re seeing stores stocking and showcasing a lot more of these electric tools, a testament to their growing popularity.
What’s even more exciting is the Compact is now providing rebates on battery powered lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws, so you can spend less on these products and have more to spend on plants for your garden. Learn more about the lawn equipment rebates we offer here.
E-Bikes! Charge Up and Get Riding!
In the electric transportation realm, of course there are electric cars (which we’re also excited about), but electric bicycles, or e-bikes, can change how we get around. Is your commute a little too long to bike it? An e-bike could make it doable.
The Compact is gearing up to offer a new e-bike incentive for income-qualified residents with support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) new Accelerating Clean Transportation for All (ACT4All) program. E-bikes are not only fun to ride but they also contribute to electrifying our transportation network, make your commute more active and can save you money compared to driving. Bike shops can apply to participate in the program now, and the incentive application will be open to income-eligible residents later this spring.