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Home Electrification#

What it means to "go electric"

Electrification means switching our systems and equipment to run on electricity instead of fuels like natural gas or propane. As a city, we are working to shift from generating electricity from these fuels to generating electricity from renewable sources (like solar and wind). By going electric, you are participating in an energy shift that will be cleaner and better for our environment. As we all continue working toward carbon neutrality in Fort Collins, going electric now helps us prepare for a better future.

Mountains and sunshine

Take Charge and Help the Climate

As we transition to more renewable energy, going electric will allow you to reduce your carbon footprint by using less fossil fuel. Also, new electric equipment generally uses less power to do the same job, which decreases our impact on the planet.

happy family inside

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Going electric reduces indoor air pollution and health risks to your family.

insulation

Make Your Home More Comfortable

Improve the comfort of rooms that are too hot or too cold by sealing and insulating, then going electric.

Before You Start#

Epic Homes advisor assessing a home

Before you buy new equipment, utilize our free energy advising sessions to help you pick the right options for your unique home electrification journey.

With the Epic Homes program, expert home energy advising is at your fingertips. Our trusted partners at Efficiency Works and ARUS will assess your entire home, advise you on next steps, and provide information on how efficiency upgrades such as insulation and air sealing can help you get more out of new electric equipment. Plus, there are a variety of rebates and access to low interest financing that help make upgrades more affordable.

Any improvements are up to you (they are not required) and can be done at your own pace. Sign up today to explore your options and rebates. Let Epic Homes and Efficiency Works be your guides!

Click here to get started with Free Energy Advising

Below are six high-impact, energy-efficient steps to consider on your electrification journey#

Electrification graphic, with number icons indicating six high-impact, energy efficient improvements for your home.
Number one: Smart thermostats

Paying to heat your home while you’re away?

Smart thermostats help you adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day to optimize for comfort and energy savings. Families with high energy use can save around $100 per year. Household efficiency items, including smart thermostats and LED lighting, qualify for an instant rebate through the Efficiency Works Store. Can’t find what you want? Apply for a rebate through Efficiency Works.*

*If you have a heat pump, contact your HVAC contractor for best settings for your equipment.

Number two: Heat pump water heaters

Cold showers got you down?

An ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heater uses 70% less energy than standard water heaters, saving over $5,600 over its lifetime. Rebates available through Efficiency Works.

Number three: Insulation and air sealing

Rooms too hot or cold?

The average size of combined air leaks in a Fort Collins home is about the same size as three basketballs! Sealing these holes and making sure you have good insulation, especially in your attic, is crucial for energy and cost savings. Rebates available through Efficiency Works.

Number four: Windows

Windows shouldn’t make you shiver.

ENERGY STAR certified windows help reduce cold drafts in the winter and help reflect solar heat in the summer. Weather stripping is a great option, too! Rebates available through Efficiency Works.

Number five: Heat pumps

Heat pumps heat AND cool a home!

The average U.S. home spends over half their annual energy bill on heating and cooling – more than $900 a year! An ENERGY STAR certified heat pump saves you energy and money all year round. Rebates available through Efficiency Works.

Number six: Electric ready

Electric Ready

Make sure your home is electric ready by assessing if your electric panel can accommodate additional electric loads. An electrician can assist with this! Incentives for solar panels, battery storage, and EVs are described next.

Number six: Solar

Generate Your Own Electricity

Equipping your home with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can reduce your carbon footprint and your electricity bill. Solar incentives are available through FC Utilities. Consider coupling this local incentive with federal tax credit opportunities.

Number six: Battery storage

Battery Storage

Battery storage can be helpful in avoiding on-peak hours and saving on your electric bill. Battery storage incentives are available through FC Utilities. Consider coupling this local incentive with federal tax credit opportunities.

Number six: Electric vehicles (EVs)

Electric Vehicles and More!

Tax incentives are available for electric vehicles and Efficiency works can help you compare EVs and maximize your incentives. You can also electrify other items inside your house, such as your clothes dryer, lawn equipment, (with incentive opportunities!), and induction cooktops.

Electrification Benefits#

a person installing a heat pump

Reduce Your Heating Costs

If your home and water are currently heated with propane or electric resistance (electric baseboard heating or a standard electric water heater), switching to an efficient electric heat pump or heat pump water heater will reduce your annual heating costs.

A home in Fort Collins

Gain Functionality

Heat pumps cool the air in the summer and warm the air in the winter. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, adding a heat pump system will add air conditioning and improve your comfort during the summer months.

A Fort Collins Utilities truck parked in a field

Reinvest in Community

As a community-owned utility, any revenues generated from your bill stay in Fort Collins. Not-for-profit operations ensure customer payments are reinvested directly in Utilities and programs that help us reach our community climate goals.

Electrification Contributes to Community Climate Goals#

Our Climate Future logo with green arrow pointing right

The City of Fort Collins is committed to improving our community by working to create a carbon neutral, zero waste, and 100% renewable electricity future. To achieve this, the Our Climate Future (OCF) community plan has three goals:

  • Reduce 2030 greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 baseline levels;
  • Provide 100% renewable electricity by 2030 with grid and local sources; and
  • Achieve zero waste, or 100% landfill diversion, by 2030.

The energy use in our homes and businesses account for more than two-thirds of our community emissions. By completing an Epic Homes upgrade and going electric, you can help contribute to OCF's vision for "Efficient, Emissions Free Buildings".

Efficient, Emissions Free Buildings

Steps to evaluate whether electrical system upgrades are needed:#

Electrification will likely increase your electricity needs. Figuring out whether your current electrical system can handle your electrification projects will require help from professionals. Epic Homes is here to help!

Step 1: Get an Energy Assessment

Fort Collins Utilities partners with Efficiency Works Homes to provide reduced-cost home energy assessments. The unbiased energy advisor can provide guidance on: 

Step 2: Work with an HVAC professional

A “Manual J Load Calculation” is needed to determine the size of heat pump you’ll need. They’ll also go over the types of equipment that might meet your needs, for example:

  • Depending on the design of the home and the cold-climate performance of the heat pump, a well-insulated and air-sealed home may not need backup heat.

Other consideration factors include the size and performance of ducts, windows, walls, floors, and ceilings.

NOTE: If electric backup heat is desired (instead of gas), then you’ll need to consult an electrician for this step.

NOTE: To qualify for local rebates, you will need to work with a participating service provider (those can be found here.) 

Step 3: Work with an Electrician

Licensed electricians can evaluate your electrical system to see whether the panel can handle the added electrical demand of the proposed equipment. 

If the panel needs to be upgraded, then you need to move to step 4, otherwise you can move on with your contractors on your electrification project.

Step 4: Permitting an upgrade

Before submitting the permit application for the panel upgrade, the electrician can email electricprojectengineering@fcgov.com to request a review of the service line coming into the panel to make sure it can meet the new demands. Then the electrician will submit an Electrical Permit Application. With that information, our Utilities Electric Project Engineers can provide an estimate of the costs.

If a service upgrade is needed, below are some things you need to know: 

  • Service Upgrades have A LOT of variables unique to each house - costs vary even within the same block.
  • In some cases, a larger service line may necessitate a larger transformer, which would add additional costs.
  • An electrician's bid that includes a price for service upgrades does not include the costs to Fort Collins Utilities for service upgrades.
  • Contact electricprojectengineering@fcgov.com if your electrician says you need a bigger service.
  • You will need to share the electrician's recommended service size.

Get started with an Energy Assessment!

Useful terms for electrification:#

Energy icon
  • Panel Upgrade – this involves replacing your electrical panel and reconnecting the electrical wiring in your home to a new panel. This is done by your licensed electrician and is often bid after you have proposals on the equipment sizing from an HVAC provider or a plumber. 
  • Service Wire/Line Upgrade - sometimes the service wire/line leading to your home may need upgraded to meet the demand (in Fort Collins this line originates underground for better resilience of our grid). The electrician evaluating the need for a panel upgrade can also evaluate the service line/wire capacity. Service line/wiring upgrades impact our grid and are done by City of Fort Collins Electrical Engineers.
  • Transformer – sometimes when a service line is upgraded, the transformer that safely delivers the electricity to your neighborhood also needs to be upgraded to safely handle the increased demand.  
  • Efficiency – Sometimes choosing to upgrade the efficiency of your home’s insulation and air sealing can result in a smaller sized electrical system needed to meet your heating requirements. Working closely with your energy advisor and HVAC contractor has many benefits, including evaluating the potential to eliminate the need for costly panel and service upgrades.

Need guidance? Sign up for a free advising session here.

Fun facts about heat pumps!#

A heat pump on a home
  • Heat pumps can replace both your traditional air conditioner AND home heating system!
  • A heat pump is a 2-in-1 machine that is more efficient than an AC, makes life more comfortable, and can save you money.
  • Heat pumps are 2 to 3 times more efficient than most current fossil-fuel heating systems. More here
  • Heat pumps work great in the coldest parts of the world. More here.  
  • A heat pump can keep your home warm even when the temperature dips down as low as -20° Fahrenheit. More here.  
  • Heat pumps heat roughly half the homes in snowy Norway, Finland, and Sweden, and more than 115,000 heat pumps have been installed in Maine, one of the coldest U.S. states. More here and here.  
  • Installing a heat pump does not require pre-existing ductwork.

Learn more about heat pumps here!

Local Electrification Rebate Resources#

Via Efficiency Works, the City, and the IRA, there are a variety of rebates available:

State and Federal Tax Resources#

  • State:
    • Learn about Colorado Heat Pump Tax Credits here.
    • Learn about Colorado Climate Focused Tax Incentives here
  • Federal:
    • Learn about the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit here
  • Planning:
    • Use the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Calculator to estimate savings here

Did You Know?

When it rains and as snow melts, runoff carries pollutants such as oil, antifreeze and gas down storm drains, contaminating our rivers, streams and lakes. Don't drip and drive.

We clean and maintain the City's wastewater system year-round to prevent sewer backups. You can help by only flushing the three Ps.