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Learn How This Long Beach Resident Made Sustainable Home Improvements

Published: 4/22/2021

This Earth Day learn about ways you can make your home more environmentally friendly like Long Beach resident, Ken Johnson. One of the biggest impacts individuals can make is through improvements to their homes which can create long-term reductions in energy use and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Long Beach 15% of our community GHG emissions come from residential buildings including our homes. With an older housing stock, mostly built before 1970, there are many ways these homes can be made more efficient.

Ken shared his experience making energy upgrades to his home to help inspire others in Long Beach to do the same. “I thought, hey if I can take a 1938 house and do this then people with newer homes can certainly do this transition pretty easily,” he said.

Ken installed solar panels on his roof and electrified his appliances, switching from gas-powered to electricity powered, to reduce his carbon footprint and improve efficiency. He was able to switch his HVAC system to an electric heat pump system, change his water heater to an all-electric heat pump heater, and install an induction stovetop (if you haven’t seen these stoves, you should try them, they are not like your typical electric coil stove). He also installed an EV charger from the City’s EV Charger Giveaway program in his garage for their one electric vehicle. He hopes to replace their second vehicle with an EV in the future. 

With all these installations, Ken reports greater comfort and lower energy bills. Though their electricity use is increasing, it is offset by the solar energy they produce. Ken’s main motivation was environmental, “I’m very concerned about climate change and wanted to be self-sufficient. Those were the driving motivations for me to do this.” Even if you are unable to install solar, electrifying appliances will have increasing GHG reduction benefits as more renewable energy is added to our energy grid.

In addition to the improvements Ken made, homeowners can also consider adding insulation and weatherization to improve energy efficiency and pairing solar with battery storage to maximize the benefits of solar. There are many resources available to help other Long Beach residents (and non-Long Beach residents) achieve energy efficiency, electrification, and solar energy production to reduce your carbon footprint. Below is a list of links to get you started:

Beyond energy, Long Beach residents can also consider improvements to reduce water use. Efficient appliances, like clothes and dishwashers, paired with efficient water fixtures and irrigation systems can reduce water use long-term. Not only does this help save valuable water resources, but it also reduces GHG emissions from the energy required to pump water to Southern California from the rainier northern part of the state. Water saving tips, rebates, and incentive programs are available at www.lbwater.org to help Long Beach Residents save more water.

However you decide to celebrate Earth Day this year, we hope you will consider making a few small changes that can have a lasting positive impact on the planet and your wallet.

(Original story posted by our Office of Sustainability)

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