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Green carbon footprint with an ADU

How can we all improve the carbon footprint in support of reducing the damages caused from air pollution and carbon emissions?

Avivit Katzir                                                                                                                                                                                            2020-12-14

According to a study published in June 2020 by the Center for Environmental Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, the United States can deliver 90 percent clean, carbon-free electricity nationwide by 2035. To help achieve that, a new statewide goal was established to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible and no later than 2045, which means electrifying all new construction buildings. Some cities already ban the use of natural gas in their jurisdiction and more local agencies are changing their codes to an all-electric new construction to align with the state’s long-term goal to reduce emission and improve air quality. This piece is written during the 2020 world COVID-19 pandemic when the indoor air quality is a new urgency, particularly when we find ourselves more confined to work from home. Switching to renewable fuels will do both – reduce emission and approve IAQ. In Northern California Cupertino, Hayward (residential), Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose (residential), and San Mateo County, to name some, are among the jurisdictions which adopted all-electric building codes.

While a detached ADU is considered new construction, some jurisdictions have exceptions with regards to the all-electric codes that apply to ADU units.

Choosing the Material

Following many local agencies guidelines for all-electric new construction (although not all apply to ADUs) we decided to adopt these recommendations as our small contribution in being more efficient, reducing emission, and being green-friendly to the environment, we are in California after all. We comply with the strict all-electric code, however, if you choose to have a gas cooktop (as an example), we will check with your local jurisdiction and if allowed, we can accommodate.

Heat Pump Water Heater does not need gas piping or venting.

Heat Pump HVAC
We selected to install a ductless mini-split HVAC system. It is easier to install and maintain, has high efficiency, these systems are easy to create a multi-zone, and instead of putting the mini-split unit on the wall we have opted for the ceiling cassette which is designed to fit the ceiling joists of typical residential buildings so they do not protrude to the living space and visually is similar to the register of a ducted system.

Induction Cooktop heats more quickly than a traditional electric cooktop, it has minimal impact on energy and CO2. The biggest benefit is the Indoor Air Quality because there is no emission and less excess heat is generated. The way that it works is not by heating the cooktop surface and transferring the heat to the pan or pot but rather by using a magnetic field to actively heat the pan itself. This is extremely efficient and it is also very safe because the surface is not heated


Heat Pump Clothes Dryer does not cost more per load than a gas dryer. It takes longer to dry but the reason is that it is a more gentle way of producing heat than a traditional dryer, so it is gentler on your clothes, which therefore will last longer.

It does not require venting and the moisture is removed by a drain line which can be connected to the same drain as the washer, so plumbing is simplified

Our kitchen appliances are all-electric and we provide either Bosch or Miele packages. By selecting these products and complying to the all-electric code we are making our small contribution in being more green. To offset some of your electricity bills, we offer an option of solar panels in our ADUs.

When you are ready to build your clean energy ADU, please visit akdhomes.com/contact us to schedule your free consultation with our ADU experts.

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