When Abby and Eric Huseth moved into their historic westside home, they were excited about getting solar panels to offset their energy use. They soon realized, however, that several of their larger appliances were fueled by methane gas and that initially, solar didn't quite pencil out. So they made a plan to begin transitioning their aging gas appliances to go electric.
The first appliance they tackled was their hot water heater. This transition required the Huseths to upgrade their electrical service, which was a big step, but ultimately it was worth it. Moving from gas-fueled to an electric heat-pump water heater was more efficient overall and became the tipping point where solar finally made sense.
Since then, the couple has added solar to their roof and they've committed to being a one-car family. When possible, they shuttle their two young boys around via a cargo e-bike instead of a fossil-fuel car. As Eric puts it, it's the "minivan of bikes." And the kids? They absolutely love it.
Brandon and Bailey Zook, of Missoula's Northside neighborhood, are realizing a project that many would only fantasize about: converting their dilapidated garage into a fully electric Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). In order to maximize efficiency, the Zooks are taking extra steps during initial construction to ensure the ADU is airtight (with heat-capturing, intentional ventilation) so they're not using more energy than necessary when it comes to heating and cooling.
The ADU will have three air-pump heating units, an induction stove and a tankless hot water heater. The goal is to install solar panels on the unit's south-facing roof to fully cover the electricity needed for the ADU and the main house. In their main house, the couple has plans to covert the mostly gas appliances to electric as they can, to further reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and lower their carbon footprint.
Learn more in the video below!