Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)
Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)

BUILDING ELECTRIFICATION

Berkeley Existing Buildings Strategy DRAFT Cover Page.PNG

NEW! Draft Existing Buildings Electrification Strategy     

The City is seeking public comment on the recently released Draft Berkeley Existing Buildings Electrification Strategy, a plan to equitably transition all buildings in Berkeley away from natural gas appliances to efficient, all-electric alternatives. Please read and provide comments online by May 15, or email electric@cityofberkeley.info

LEARN MORE! 

View presentation and the webinar recording from Getting Buildings Off Gas - Berkeley Electrification Community Meeting (May 4, 2021)

East Bay Green Home Tour LogoJoin the free virtual East Bay Green Home Tour, June 6 & 13

How are East Bay residents adapting their homes to combat climate change, improve air quality, generate clean energy, and move towards a safer, greener future? The East Bay Green Home Tour features short video tours of 12 homes, followed by live Q&As with the homeowner or tenant. Extras include an induction cooking demonstration and experts who can fill you in on heat pumps, air quality, solar storage, power outages, rebates, and more. Find the full tour schedule here.


Building Electrification is the substitution of gas appliances (furnaces, water heaters, cooking ranges and stoves, dryers, etc.) with clean, safe, and highly efficient all-electric alternatives that reduce your home's carbon footprint.  

Find incentives and free technical support to electrify your home, business or multifamily property thru BayREN

Find consumer resources at the Switch is On  

Borrow a portable induction hob from the Berkeley Tool Lending Library and discover for yourself the joys of induction cooking


Residential Heat Pump Water Heaters: Replacing a Gas Water Heater 

 What is a heat pump water heater (HPWH)? Many homes in Berkeley use natural gas to heat water. Heat pump water heaters are high-efficiency water heaters that use electricity instead of gas and therefore have the potential to use renewable energy. Heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse — they use electricity and a refrigerant to take heat from the air and transfer it to the water in the tank.     

 Why get a HPWH?

  •  High Efficiency: Heat pump technology is 2-3 times more energy efficient than a gas storage water heater, with potentially lower operating costs and lower utility bills. Over a 30-year period, an average Californian could reduce their energy usage by 30%, and their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% or more with a HPWH powered by photovoltaic panels compared to high-efficiency gas tankless alternative.
  •  Renewable Electricity: Reducing your natural gas usage and transitioning to using renewable electricity in your home can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Consider installing on-site renewables like rooftop solar panels    , or purchasing clean electricity through providers such as Alameda County’s  East Bay Community Energy.
  •  Safety: Heat pumps eliminate indoor natural gas combustion, improving air quality and safety.

 Considering a HPWH?

 1. Plan ahead: Emergency replacement when your water heater fails does not allow sufficient time to switch to a HPWH. Plan ahead to create time for considering a heat pump system. The typical life span of a gas storage water heater is 10-15 years. 

 Whenever conducting electrical upgrades, consider increasing panel capacity for all future projects, such as solar panels, an induction cooktop, or electric vehicle charging. When completing an extensive home renovation, please note heat pump technology is available for space heating systems as well. Measures like these are the best pathway to an emissions-free home powered by renewable electricity.

 2. Understand installation requirements: Heat pump technology is relatively new  to the mainstream market, and specifications below may change as equipment and practices adapt. Please confirm these specifications with an experienced contractor for the model you select.   

    1.  Location: HPWHs need extra space to ensure sufficient airflow (700 ft3 or more is recommended, with 6” clearance above and around), or a louvered door if located in a closet, and a place to drain condensate. The best locations include unconditioned areas, such as a garage or basement, due the cooling effect on air around it.   
    2.  Electrical: HPWHs typically require a dedicated 30 amp circuit and 220/240 V breaker. If there is not sufficient capacity, an electrical panel upgrade may be required.
    3.  Tank Size: Due to the longer heating time, a larger tank is recommended for HPWHs. Extra capacity in the tank allows for the equipment to run in heat-pump only mode, and avoid the less efficient electric resistance backup mode. 

 3. Hire a Qualified Professional: This technology may require a plumber and an electrician for installation. Hiring professional(s) with prior experience with the equipment is key to ensuring it runs efficiently and that it meets Building Code requirements. Information on high efficiency models can be found under Other Resources.

 4. Permit and install: Apply for permits from the City of Berkeley prior to installation and schedule an inspection prior to operating your HPWH. 

 Permit Submittal Guidance

 In most cases, no zoning permit is needed. Plumbing, typically with electrical, permits are required. 

  1.  Applicant must submit electronic plans to the  Permit Service Center that include:
    1.  Partial floor or site plan of the heat pump water heater (HPWH) placement, as well as seismic bracing details
    2.  Manufacturer’s specification sheet with installation instructions
    3.  Existing main panel rating with a dedicated circuit with capacity for the HPWH as confirmed by a licensed design professional. Include details if an electrical panel upgrade is required
    4.  An electrical disconnect (circuit breaker or a lockable switch) for the HPWH that is within sight of the appliance
    5.  If installed in an attic or other elevated floor space:
      1.  Provide verification that the existing framing members will support the proposed dead loads of the HPWH,
      2.  Specify accessibility for service,
      3.  Specify drainage system; and,
      4.  Specify vacuum relief valves when the HPWH is installed above the hot water plumbing fixtures
       
    6.  Title 24, Part 6 of the California Energy Code may use either of the methods below:  
      1.  Documentation demonstrating that the proposed HPHW meets the requirements of NEEA Advanced Water Heater Specification Tier 3 or higher, or 
      2.  Performance Certificates of Compliance reporting modeling whole-home energy usage (more likely if the HPWH installation is part of a larger renovation project)  
 
 City of Berkeley Electrification Ordinances 
 
Other Resources 
  •  Find $avings - Incentives, Rebates & Credits: 
    •  BayREN Home+ offers incentives to single family homeowners for heat pump water heaters, space heaters and clothes dryers, and induction cooking ranges
    •  BayREN Heat Pump Water Heater Incentive for Contractors offers a $1000 incentive to participating contractors that may be passed along to customers
    • Find heat pump water heater equipment on the PG&E Marketplace -- $300 rebate available for select models
    • Get a $300 federal tax credit for the purchase of a new heat pump water heater or other appliances through December 31, 2021
  •  Solar thermal is another renewable water heating option for Berkeley homeowners 
 
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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD), 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: sustainability@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7465
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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