A person vacuuming a carpet with an electric vacuum cleaner

Published on: 12/05/2022

Embracing an electric future.

Written by: The Nest Renew Team

Here are some of the most common ways to electrify your own lifestyle, which can help fight climate change and might even save you money.

Tackling climate change is one of the biggest and most complex challenges of our time. Yet one of the most effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is deceptively simple - using electricity to power more of the items in our lives that use the most energy, such as cars, air conditioners and more.

It is known as the “electrify everything” movement, and the idea has two basic parts. First is to accelerate the growth of renewable energy that is already rapidly decarbonizing the grid. At the same time, as the grid gets cleaner, we can use all of that carbon-free electricity to power as many different aspects of our lives as possible with electricity instead of other means, such as fossil fuels.

A wealth of new electric technology options.

Replacing your fossil fuel-powered appliances, such as HVAC systems, and vehicles for electric options allows you to take full advantage of a cleaner grid - and can often save you money as well.

Already, over 25% of U.S. homes are powered exclusively by electricity. In states like Hawaii and Florida, more than 70% of homes are all electric.

Technology has come a long way in the past decade, and the options on the market today are much different than their predecessors. Here’s a few to consider:

Heat pumps.

Despite the name - heat pumps both heat and cool your home. Essentially they are AC units that can also run in reverse. Heating and cooling accounts for the majority of the primary energy used in American homes. Heat pumps are dramatically more efficient than furnaces that generate heat by burning oil or gas. That’s because heat pumps extract heat from either the air or the ground to warm or cool homes, depending on the season. They can deliver as much as 3x more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy they use. Many utilities and government programs currently offer incentives to switch to heat pumps, and they even work in sub-zero temperatures. And if you already have a Nest thermostat, it is compatible with most types of heat pumps so you can continue using the features and programs you’re already familiar with.

Electric vehicles (EVs).

Opting to replace your gas-powered vehicle for one you plug in at home can make a big impact reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation, largely powered by fossil fuels, is now the largest portion of U.S. carbon emissions.

On average, driving an EV in the U.S. more than halves your carbon emissions compared to driving a gas-powered car. Today, the average EV in the U.S. has more than 3x the range it had a decade ago. EVs have about 40% lower maintenance costs and can save thousands of dollars in fuel costs over years of ownership. Additionally, as the electric grid is increasingly powered by clean energy, charging your EV can reduce your emissions even more. With EVs you can set your car to charge at certain times of day when the grid is powered by more clean energy, and this type of so-called smart charging can lower emissions by up to 8%.

Induction cooktops.

Electric induction cooktops transfer heat to pots and pans by generating current in a coil just below a glass stovetop. That current creates a magnetic field that directly transfers energy to cookware made with magnetic material. The general rule of thumb is if a magnet sticks to a pot or pan, it can be used with induction, including most stainless steel and cast iron.

This direct transfer of energy means that induction cooking is 85% efficient, compared to 32% for natural gas and 75 to 80% for electric resistance heating. Like gas, induction offers responsiveness of gas stoves but can boil water in about half the time of a gas stove.

Another huge benefit: induction cooktops do not create indoor air pollution as burning gas does with gas stoves. And if all stoves sold in the U.S. in 2021 used electric induction heating, it would save consumers $125 million.

A mom, dad, and their two young daughters are playing around the couch. The dad is playing Jenga while the mom and daughters look at the game.

Nest Renew helps you support a clean energy future, right from home.