Bellingham, Washington and What's Next

January 17, 2020

Bellingham, Washington and What's Next

by: Chris Y.

A recent article in the New York Times highlights the growing trend of climate change action that municipalities are undertaking by moving away from natural gas. 

For many people accustomed to the influence of the fossil fuel industry, growth in electric heating may seem improbable, or a long way off. However, the advantages of electric heating including comfort, convenience, and safety with lower overall operating costs, have made it an increasingly attractive option.  

The City of Seattle, Washington is a case in point where, in under 10 years, the share of electric heating in new residential buildings has gone from just 9% in 2010 to 65% as of 2018.

This is not good news for gas utilities, who are seeing their share of new customers shrink, and are coming under increasing pressure due to the significant contribution that methane gas has on climate change.

While there are a few existing electric heating systems on the market, including baseboards, forced air electric furnaces, and heat pumps; from a homeowners perspective, our innovative far-infrared heating panels are an enhancement over traditional electric heating systems and an alternative to fossil fuel heating, with a wide range of comfort, convenience and cost savings. That, when coupled with the environmental benefits, makes the shift to electric heating much less daunting. 

In new buildings, the savings begin at the time of construction. Because far-infrared only requires a suitable electrical connection, the need for specialized gas contractors and inspectors is eliminated. In addition, there is no requirement for ventilation or sheet metal contractors, which streamlines the construction process saving both time and money. 

As furnace equipment ages, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases and should never be underestimated. By eliminating the combustion of fossil fuels, homeowners and tenants can enjoy the piece of mind knowing that the risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning is removed from their home. The use of far-infrared heating also means annual inspections of furnaces and boilers are eliminated, as well as any costs associated with the replacement of moving parts like blower motors on the furnace or replacement of batteries for carbon monoxide detectors.

With the improved energy efficiency, that can only be delivered by far-infrared radiant heat, it is easy to see why it is positioned to make a major contribution to the shift away from natural gas. 

As the shift to electrification of our heating systems unfolds, opportunities are created in communities across North America, not only for installers of electric heat, but we will see the co-benefit of additional generation capacity, that will power our far-infrared heating panels, which will unlock opportunities for renewable energy.

This is significant because, as an alternative to natural gas heating, electric heat has the spinoff effect of job creation, related to clean power generation that is local, as opposed to far off oil and gas fields.