Green Homes Tour

All-Electric Green Homes Are Better

For many years now San Diego Green Building Council (SDGBC) volunteers have put on the Green Homes Tour, which showcases the cutting edge of sustainable residential homes.  Some are new construction and others are retrofits of existing homes, but all offer tangible case studies for those looking for ideas and inspiration to replicate.

This year was no different.  On October 17th, my wife and I participated in the tour that featured 8 residential homes that exhibited tons of innovative technology, ranging from a duplex in North Park to a palatial home in Point Loma.  All the homes were spread out throughout the county so it was difficult to see them all, so we decided to look at a certain type of home, an all-electric home.

There were four all-electric homes on display and they did not disappoint.  The two that we visited were the eCorinthian, a complete all-electric retrofit of a single family home and a new construction all-electric duplex in North Park.  

The eCorinthian is the home of SDBEC’s own, Tom Abram.  He has spent the better part of 5 years converting his home to be all-electric by replacing all the gas powered appliances in his home with electric equivalents.  That includes the Heat Pumps for space and water heating and an induction stove for cooking.  When paired with the large PV system on the roof, the GHG reduction for building operations is massive. He did not stop there, he made many energy efficiency improvements as well including high performance windows, lights, fans, thermostats, and Solatubes.  His garden was packed with sustainable strategies like composting, using condensate from the HPWH to water plants and the use of an electric grill.  To the naked eye it may look like a normal home but it’s much more because all-electric homes are always better! All-electric homes emit low or zero carbon emissions, they have better indoor air quality, and are just better for the environment.

The other all-electric project that impressed us was a duplex constructed where the property’s garage once stood. Since they were starting from scratch they made a huge effort to seal the envelope as tight as possible and use a heat exchanger to precondition the outdoor air coming in.  They used all the latest thermal and moisture barriers to make sure the house was as insulated as possible.  Then the owners went all electric with everything including heat pumps for space and water heating.  Their tenants are living in a better home since the owners took lots of care to make their living spaces as sustainable as possible.

The Green Homes tour reinforced what we already knew and felt.  All-electric homes are just better than those with methane gas!

About the Author:

Robert Carr is a consultant who specializes in making our region’s built environment more sustainable.  He is a LEED AP, LFA, and GPRO instructor and has used this experience to participate in many LEED projects with local organizations including the San Diego Green Building Council.  In 2015 he received a Masters in Sustainability Leadership from ASU. Robert also volunteers for SD 350 and the San Diego Building Electrification Coalition to advocate for just, equitable and sustainable communities for all. Previously, Robert was a science teacher in San Diego Unified School District and a flight instructor.