A Google search for “electrification technology” produces results featuring the work of numerous nonprofit and for-profit organizations, many of which are based in Silicon Valley.

It’s no surprise then, that the very electrification technology analyzed and promoted by these groups is driving innovation around efficiency and quality in electric appliances as natural gas begins a gradual exit from new-home construction.

We know that many cities such as San Jose and several others are reaching beyond the state’s requirements for energy efficiency in new-home construction. Many of them are doing so by requiring that all new construction be all-electric, without any gas infrastructures or hookups in new homes or new-home communities.

These changes herald a mix of apprehension, gratitude, confusion and excitement among buyers, depending on whom you ask.

The chances are great that new-home buyers who have previously owned homes are accustomed to natural gas hookups for certain appliances. Meanwhile, those whose first new home will be their first-ever new home may be excited about the quality and efficiency of today’s electric appliances.

Across both groups, there’s likely a bit of head scratching and sticker shock over electric appliances.

The home features most likely to feel different in an all-electric community are the kitchen cooktop and oven; the water heater; the dryer; the furnace; the built-in barbecue and the good old-fashioned fireplace.

In a future article, we’ll explore the efficiencies and nuances of whole-house HVAC and water systems powered by electricity.

For generations, gas cooktops have been favored among master chefs and rookie chefs alike. But today’s induction cooktops provide a number of benefits.

To begin with, the wait time for a cooking temperature to change on a glass induction cooktop, these days, is reaching the speed of a gas burner. Some induction cooktop owners say they can boil water in less than a minute. And, although heat may come more quickly, ambient heat outside the burner space is nearly absent, meaning injury from burns is less likely.

The streamlined look of an induction cooktop is another benefit. Also, who hasn’t ever boiled over a pot of rice or noodles? With an induction electric cooktop, you’ll only have to clean one cooking surface, instead of multiple iron grates along with the stainless steel base of a gas cooktop.

Also in the kitchen, the electric ovens that use standard, induction or convection features are known to perform equally as well as ovens powered by natural gas. The differences are in the upfront cost of a unit and the longevity. Simply put, electric ovens that take advantage of the latest in electrification technology will cost more than standard gas ovens. But builders explain that, in many cases, electric ovens are longer lasting and easier to repair.

As for barbecues, those who’ve been fantasizing about built-in and gas-plumbed bars and grills outside will have to adjust their expectations when buying new in any of the Bay Area municipalities that require all-electric construction.

Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you can’t still design hardscape for the built-in grill such as a stone or marble encasement, along with bar seating, a sink and a refrigerator, all permanently placed on the patio.

The difference is that with new construction in a new all-electric community, the buyer would work with a hardscape company to design a stone or marble structure large enough to fit a standard propane tank for barbecuing.

Remember to plan in advance with your builder to ensure that the installed electric service for your new home has the capacity for all of the high-quality electric appliances in the home.

The upfront costs of the appliances, the upgraded electrical system and the required solar system will be included in the price of the house. By extension, once a buyer grows accustomed to the established monthly mortgage payment and it starts feeling routine, all-electric systems and services will be efficient enough to keep monthly energy costs close to zero.


By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

Leave a Reply