By Lauren Rosales-Shepard, Content Writer
Not for the first time, your jaw drops when you open the energy bill. You resemble a shocked cartoon character straight out of the Looney Tunes, but there’s nothing comical about the numbers on that sheet of paper in your hands. Your eyes find the perpetual offer to “go paperless” as part of the company’s new sustainability efforts. “I should really remember to do that,” you say to yourself absently, still in disbelief over the amount owed.
Then your brain wanders down a rabbit hole. “Sustainability… going green.” It comes to you in a moment of inspiration– “Solar panels!”
You vaguely remember hearing that solar panels can save you money on your energy bills. And in addition to that, you vaguely remember something about tax incentives, the “Green New Deal”... what was it again?
This scene isn’t just playing out in your own living room, believe me. Skyrocketing energy costs are frustrating–and flabbergasting–households all across the globe. From electric bills to gas prices, consumers are increasingly interested in alternative options. And, increasingly, alternative options are getting greener in response to imminent environmental concerns. Whether you’re most interested in saving money or reducing your carbon footprint, there are many green improvements you can make to your lifestyle that will accomplish both. While some changes are smaller DIY projects you can do on your own, there are much larger steps you can take. The good news is that, in recent years, the United States government has put some incentives in place for such improvements. Read on to learn more about these opportunities.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (not the Green New Deal) established support for a variety of green initiatives:
- Solar Energy: Solar PV systems installed between 2022-2032 are eligible for a 30% tax credit.
- Insulation and Air Sealing: You could get tax credits or rebates for improvements that keep the outside air from seeping into your home, and indoor air from leaking out. This could include things like caulking and weather stripping, upgraded doors and windows, and even home energy audits by an inspector who will identify your best improvement options.
- Electric Heat Pump Appliances: If your home is eligible, you could receive a rebate of up to 100% of the cost of purchasing and installing an electric heat pump clothes dryer and water heater.
- Electric Stove or Oven: You could potentially be eligible for rebates that can cover up to 100% of the costs of electric stoves, cooktops, ranges, and ovens (as opposed to gas).
- Electric Vehicle: If you purchase a new electric car, you can qualify for up to $7,500 in tax credits; a used electric vehicle is eligible for up to $4,000 in tax credits.
- Breaker Box: In order to upgrade your home’s breaker box or electrical wiring to accommodate the increase in electric appliances, you may qualify for additional tax credits and rebates.
If you’re interested in saving money and want to pursue the solar energy option, you can learn more on the government website. There is a similar site to answer questions you may have about other energy-efficient upgrades. Not sure what your most effective course of action might be? Consider obtaining a home energy assessment, whether it is professional or guided do-it-yourself. Bear in mind that income and other limits may apply for some of these initiatives, so it is always best to run your ideas and plans by your tax or other financial advisor to positively verify and determine your eligibility.
Energy costs are only likely to rise in the future. If you’re frustrated now, it’s time to start thinking about the measures you can take to save money! Not only your pocketbook, but the planet, too, will thank you.