Electrification-Savvy Contractors, A Guide to Going Green

Building electrification experts share tips with SCE customers on retrofitting residential homes.

A knowledgeable contractor can likely be the key to a smooth electrification journey.

When planning an energy-saving home retrofit, the right contractor can help with electric appliances including
heat pumps and induction cooktops, which are up to four times more efficient than their natural gas alternatives.

They’ll often begin with a home energy audit and their recommendations may surprise you.

“Fossil fuel-powered space and water heating systems are often significantly oversized,” said Dan Thomsen, president of
Building Doctors, a licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor in Los Angeles.

Building Doctors’ Dan Thomsen insulating an attic after air sealing it, the key steps to ensure optimal comfort, energy savings and proper HVAC sizing for home retrofits.
Building Doctors’ Dan Thomsen insulates an attic after air sealing it, the key steps to ensure optimal comfort, energy savings and proper HVAC sizing for home retrofits. PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Thomsen

Thomsen, whose company is certified with the Building Performance Institute, a national standards development group for residential energy-efficiency retrofits, begins most projects by insulating and air-sealing to get the heating and cooling loads down.

“When we
weatherize correctly, we’re able to remove huge gas furnaces and A/C systems,” said Thomsen, who’s also a founding member of Efficiency First California. “We’ll replace them with smaller heat pump units and often avoid expensive panel upgrades.”

Heat pumps and weatherization help with system efficiency, which can also reduce monthly energy bills. Plus, you can use heat pumps all year because they heat and cool with a single appliance.

And since California has moved to
end the sale of new gas-fired furnaces and water heaters by 2030, opting for a heat pump puts you ahead of the curve.

“Electrification is a game changer,” said Carter Prescott, director of Advanced Energy Solutions at Southern California Edison. “The cost savings and emissions reductions can be significant and with multiple incentives available, it’s a great time to upgrade.”

Austin Landi installs a Fujitsu ducted mini-split heat pump system for a customer in Culver City, California.
Austin Landi installs a ducted mini-split heat pump system for a customer in Culver City, California. PHOTO CREDIT: Austin Landi

Austin Landi, owner of Heat Pumps Now, helps customers “future-proof” their homes and navigate the many green incentives available to lower the cost of home retrofits.

“I’m an active participant in 11 different rebate programs, many of which are stackable,” he said.

While helpful, keeping track of the growing list of incentives can become a logistical headache. Luckily
Sealed, a New York-based climate tech company, launched software that has helped contractors secure more than $1 million in rebates specifically offered through the 3C-REN program in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Users can access and apply for multiple incentive programs right on their smartphones.

Sealed calculates a home improvement project’s expected energy savings and pays upfront to contractors, who pass the rebates directly to customers.

“Measured energy savings programs enable contractors who do great work to distinguish themselves because they can offer higher rebates than their competitors, and that helps homeowners,” said Sealed Founder and President Andy Frank.

As additional energy rebate programs roll out in California, more SCE customers will have access to vetted, Sealed contractors who use them,” Frank said.

Meanwhile, California’s top electrification incentive program,
TECH Clean CA, offers rebates on electrical upfits and SCE’s Energy Savings Assistance and Building Electrification programs provide no-cost retrofits for qualified, low-income customers.

Home Electrification Guide

  • The Switch is On is California’s one-stop shop to learn about home electrification, explore green incentives and find TECH Clean CA authorized contractors.
  • The California Energy Commission’s Energy Resources Guide has comprehensive information on contractors, appliances and incentives.
  • Building Performance Institute Certified Pros and GoldStar Contractors are available on BPI’s Find a Contractor tool.
  • Rewiring America’s Incentive Calculator helps determine which rebates and tax credits you qualify for based on income and location.
  • RMI’s Green Upgrade Calculator enables contractors and other energy professionals to estimate the economic benefits and emissions savings of green home upgrades.

To learn more about cost-effective, energy-efficient appliances for your home or business, visit

To take a free online or in-person class at SCE’s
Energy Education Center, click here.