Climate Profile: Blake Herrschaft, Electrification Advisor
When I think of Truckee, some things that come to mind are clean air, water, and beautiful natural surroundings. However, to preserve these assets, it’s becoming essential that local communities step up to the challenge of climate change. Luckily, we have some knowledgeable people to help us fight climate change on a local level with a global impact.
One of these people is Blake Herrschaft of Electrify Tahoe. I had the opportunity to speak with him for this month’s Climate Profile and learn about his efforts to give back to our community. Electrify Tahoe is a volunteer effort on Blake’s part to help people electrify their homes. Although he grew up in Pennsylvania, he loves the beauty of the Tahoe area.
Blake is an architectural engineer whose work brought him around the globe, where he designed many award-winning sustainable buildings. He is generously donating his time to help Truckee catch up on carbon reduction. Blake has found that when it comes to going green, Truckee needs to move faster to do its part to combat climate change. Blake is bringing his global experience and a green future to Truckee by helping homeowners electrify their homes.
So why is it essential to electrify your home? As we all know, burning fossil fuels is one of the leading causes of climate change. While natural gas has been sold to us as “clean,” gas represents the second biggest source of greenhouse emissions in the United States – double that of coal, and soon to surpass oil. In Truckee, a home’s gas furnace contributes more to climate change than a Subaru Outback.
By electrifying your home, you can reduce your carbon footprint, which will make an impact on our community and the globe. Eliminating gas appliances can feel challenging, inconvenient, and expensive, but scheduling a consultation with an electrification coach like Blake is one of the most straightforward steps community members can take on an individual level – and it’s FREE! And now is the best time to make a plan to switch. Going electric may not seem like the most convenient or cheapest thing, but homeowners can actually save money over time by investing in their house and their future.
But what happens when the power goes out? In the Tahoe-Truckee area, we know far too well about power outages, especially during our wild winter storms. Blake is working to bring awareness to the steps people can take to combat their anxiety and live in an all-electric home. He brings many solutions for homeowners to manage an outage in an all-electric home, from the most obvious – using candles, grilling outside, or using a camp stove, wood fireplace or wood stove. Longer-term solutions include battery power and/or solar energy.
The Electrify Tahoe Free Service
Blake offers a free one-hour consultation, giving valuable information about the steps to take when electrifying your home. He will spend time walking through a home – sometimes in person, and sometimes by phone/video – offering specific modification ideas, and answering questions along the way so the homeowner gains an understanding of a comprehensive and coordinated pathway for electrification. Some of the main appliances Blake will suggest homeowners swap out include a gas furnace, gas water heater, gas or electric resistance clothes dryer and gas cooktop for an electric induction one. Electric heat pumps work well for water and space heating in our cold climate and cooling in the summer. This not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but also can significantly reduce energy costs for homeowners. Other suggestions Blake might make include improving insulation, utilizing larger water heaters, and upgrading from single-pane to double-pane windows. And the costs of these improvements can now be reduced with tax credits and rebates provided by the federal Inflation Reduction Act and some California state benefits.
Blake provides this helpful consulting service as his civic contribution to addressing climate change, enabling homeowners in Truckee to make informed decisions about the electrification of their homes and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. This personalized approach educates the community one household at a time about the benefits of transitioning to clean energy and helps level up Truckee’s climate game. Blakes’s free service, Electrify Tahoe, can be found here: https://www.electrifytahoe.org/.
India Welch a sophomore at Truckee High who has a passion for science. After participating in several female STEM science camps, India is excited about furthering her studies in science and climate change to help make the world a better place in the future. When she is not baking or studying, she can be found swimming in Donner Lake with her dog Rosie, shopping downtown, or sleeping for at least 14 hours.
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