Electrifying buildings — including replacing gas water heaters with higher-efficiency heat pump water heaters — is a significant step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And Alameda County is leading by example.
The Alameda County General Services Agency (GSA) provides maintenance, repair, and operation services for more than 182 county-owned and -leased facilities. Recently, the Empower Procurement Program (EPP) and the GSA collaborated to replace eight gas water heaters, in seven buildings, with energy-efficient heat pump water heaters — at no cost to Alameda County — through PG&E’s Government and GK12 Program. (The EPP was implemented by Prospect Silicon Valley, with funding from the California Energy Commission, to provide real-world examples of how municipal governments can conduct electrification projects. Read the full case study.
In April and May 2022, the EPP’s E-Building Team joined GSA staff and conducted site visits, accompanied by Willdan and its installing contractor, Enovative Mechanical and Energy Services. The new heat pump water heaters were then installed in these facilities: the Albany Veterans’ Memorial Building, the Magnolia Women’s Recovery Program (which received two heat pumps), the Alcopark Parking Garage, the Alameda County Administration Building, Alameda County Building Maintenance, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, and the garage for the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
All of these new water heaters meet the stringent requirements of California Title 24, Joint Appendix 13, which include meeting Energy Star standards and having a 10-year warranty. In the first year, they resulted in a net energy use reduction of more than 717,000 kBtu. The annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is estimated to be 50 metric tons.
Alameda County had already managed to reduce its operational emissions by 31% between 2003 and 2019. Nearly half of that reduction was in buildings and facilities owned by the county.
Alameda County is meeting a significant share of its electrical needs in its facilities by using clean, reliable green power — not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also saving approximately six million taxpayer dollars per year. (Read more about the GSA’s commitment to sustainability.)