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Electrifying Our Homes for a Warming Climate

By Tom Osborne

My wife and I moved to Laguna Beach 50 years ago this month. On the few hot summer days we encountered, a ready solution was at hand: throw open our windows to receive our daily flow of Pacific breezes. Those Westerly winds provided all the cooling we needed. Our relatives living in the interior parts of Southern California needed air conditioning, but we never thought some type of air-cooling system might be necessary for us someday. In more recent times hot summer days became hotter and seem to last longer. Open windows and fans have barely sufficed. Then, more recently we learned that Stanford researchers have found that gas-powered stoves are responsible for more than 12 percent of childhood asthma cases in America. Was our gas range linked to my wife, Ginger’s, chronic cough?  

While these matters caught our attention, both science and the market had already spoken: heat-trapping greenhouse gases had steadily increased over the past half-century (see the Dr. Charles David Keeling Curve), resulting in a warming planet, even along Southern California’s coast where residents have for so long enjoyed arguably the world’s best climate. The market, too, had responded. Sales have increased for heat pumps that can cool or warm our homes as needed, and the same goes for sales of induction ranges, rooftop solar panels, and electric water heaters. During the past ten years, our family has adopted all these electricity-powered appliances except for the water heater (and greatly regret that we allowed a plumber to talk us into buying a gas-operated water heater, ugh).  

To learn the latest information about how to transition your home into the healthy sanctuary we all want for ourselves and our families, the Laguna chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), with help from the City of Laguna Beach and Rivian company, will host a Home Electrification Fair on May 29, 2024. This important event will take place at Rivian South Coast Theater from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but you must register in advance. 

The featured speaker is Peter Marsh, a seasoned CCL volunteer and home electrification consultant. About a year ago, I heard him address the home electrification topic at a conference held at MiraCosta College, near Oceanside. He’s encyclopedic on the subject while presenting it in clear laymen’s language and in an engaging manner. His presentation led to our immediate action on the steps mentioned above.

Pete Marsh founded Vector Green Power LLC, to design and build solar and energy storage. Previously, he managed R&D projects at Booz Allen Hamilton, and was head of the Pacific Region for Truestone LLC, a technology systems integrator which scaled to $110 million in annual revenue and 700 people in five years. He began his career with 25 years of active-duty service in the U.S. Coast Guard. Pete holds a B.S. in Marine Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and an M.S. in Telecommunications Systems Management from the Naval Postgraduate School. At the national level, he co-leads CCL’s Electrification Action Team.

In addition to Pete Marsh’s presentation, information tables will be staffed by non-profit organizations plus Southern California Edison to help attendees switch out end-of-life gas appliances for electrical ones and learn how to save money through federal rebates and tax credits. Attendees can expect their practical questions to be answered at these tables. 

Come and invite your friends and neighbors for what promises to be a stimulating evening.  You’ll leave with “megawatts” of beneficial, practical information that you can put to use quickly. Register early as public interest suggests a capacity audience. See you there!

Tom Osborne co-leads, with his wife, Ginger, the Laguna chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Six members of this chapter will travel to Washington, D.C. in June to lobby members of Congress for passage of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 5744). [email protected].

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