Ann Arbor Mayor Installs New Gas Fireplace as Part of City’s Home Electrification Effort

Ann Arbor Mayor Installs New Gas Fireplace as Part of City’s Home Electrification Effort

ANN ARBOR, MI — Ann Arbor’s mission to attain carbon neutrality by 2030 calls on residents to ditch fuel home equipment and electrify houses to maneuver away from burning fossil fuels.

Electrifying houses — in tandem with switching to renewable power — is a key technique in Ann Arbor’s A2Zero plan, and Mayor Christopher Taylor is a key proponent of it and the town’s proposal Tax over 20 years to finance it.

However whereas the mayor put in photo voltaic panels in his residence and indicated he meant to exchange fuel home equipment with electrical ones, metropolis constructing allow data present he and his spouse put in a brand new fuel fire and a brand new fuel line this 12 months.

Elizabeth Nelson, one in all his fellow metropolis council members, is now calling him for it.

“It is a luxurious that is a really bizarre factor to bask in should you’re actually pretending you are doing all your finest to eliminate the fuel,” stated Nelson, D-4th Ward.

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Taylor defended the choice, saying he and his spouse needed an actual fire – not an electrical fire – and that he understood {that a} fuel fire is 75% extra carbon environment friendly than burning wooden, citing the Sierra Club as a source.

“An electrical fire is not actually a fire,” he stated of why he did not take into account the choice.

Taylor purchased a newly reworked 2,280 sq. foot residence within the Burns Park neighborhood for $1.2 million in July 2021, in keeping with metropolis data. He has since put in a photo voltaic panel that has equipped 117% of his electrical energy wants since March, he stated.

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor poses in entrance of his residence which options an 18-panel 7.2 kilowatt photo voltaic array in Ann Arbor Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.Jacob Hamilton |

Taylor stated the reworked residence he bought was primarily a model new residence and got here with new fuel home equipment, together with a fuel range, water heater and furnace, however he had the potential for putting in an electrical garments dryer and did. Whereas that has been the extent of his electrification work thus far, it’s his plan to ultimately exchange fuel home equipment, he stated in an interview last week on what he’s doing to personally obtain the town’s A2Zero targets, to not point out putting in a fuel fire.

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Taylor has since clarified that he’ll seemingly maintain the fuel fire whereas merely changing different fuel home equipment. He additionally stated that the brand new fuel line he put in was solely a connection between his current fuel line via the home and the brand new fire.

Council member Jen Eyer, D-4th Ward, stated she is working to totally electrify her residence whereas renovating it and has put in two electrical fireplaces. They’re fantastic and supply year-round ambiance, in addition to heat when desired, she says.

Ann Arbor City Council Member Jen Eyer

Ann Arbor Metropolis Council member Jen Eyer, D-4th Ward, poses at her residence the place she not too long ago put in electrical fireplaces on October 21, 2022.Ryan Solar | [email protected]

Whereas putting in a fuel fire in her household room would have been simpler and cheaper since there was already a fuel line and a chimney, Eyer stated she went electrical for her align with A2Zero targets, however she does not touch upon anybody else’s private selections.

Nelson, who stated she has an actual wood-burning fire that she does not use usually, stated she appreciates that persons are at completely different phases of their progress towards the town’s A2Zero targets. For instance, relating to the aim of decreasing automotive driving, she is lucky to stay subsequent to her office so she will be able to stroll, and her husband now works from residence, she stated.

“I believe all of us have completely different existence,” Nelson stated. “The circumstances you end up in are going to dictate how troublesome or straightforward a type of selections is.”

Ann Arbor wants residents to get rid of gas furnaces to fight climate change

As for residence electrification, Nelson stated she took step one by including an addition to her residence in the course of the pandemic. She had a selection of putting in an electrical or fuel garments dryer and opted for electrical, she stated, though her contractor questioned that, noting that electrical energy nonetheless comes from the DTE Power grid, which entails burning fossil fuels.

“They had been perplexed by this choice, however we made this choice as a result of we all know we now have to be electrical,” she stated.

Nelson nonetheless thinks the mayor’s intentional transfer to fuel with a brand new fuel fire is questionable.

“It is onerous to make claims and do one thing completely different,” she stated. “Folks make completely different choices based mostly on what wants they’ve. I do not suppose a fire is a necessity.


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