(BPT) - The energy supply in the United States is getting cleaner and more renewable every day. Not only is this good for the planet, it's also good for your wallet. By taking action now you can help prepare for a clean energy future, while enjoying energy savings and a more comfortable home today.
The shift to clean energy
States and communities around the country have led the way in implementing policies that support the transition to clean energy. Additionally, forward-thinking electric utilities are increasing their investments in renewables like solar, wind and hydro power.
In fact, renewables are the fastest-growing electricity generation source in the U.S. In just the last 12 years, the share of electricity produced from renewable sources has gone from 11% to 24%, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency. At the same time, households around the country are beginning the process of switching from fossil fuels to efficient electric for the equipment in their homes and the cars they drive.
Recent legislation, like the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, is expected to accelerate the transition with billions of dollars in financial incentives designed to make necessary purchases more affordable and other market support to make clean energy and efficient electric equipment more available.
According to an analysis by Princeton University, the progress expected over the next eight years will drive down greenhouse gas emissions by about 42%, while also lowering U.S. energy expenditures by at least 4% by 2030. Most experts predict that by as early as 2035, most U.S. energy demand can be supplied by clean energy.
Clean energy at home
Over time, as equipment needs to be replaced, homeowners will switch their gas products for electric options — things like furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves and yard equipment. The increase in electricity demand that results from this switch will be offset by innovations in efficiency that are now broadly available for electric alternatives.
Help is available if you want to prepare your home for the clean energy future. The ENERGY STAR Home Upgrade is a set of six energy-efficiency improvements designed to work together to deliver significant energy and cost savings, while supporting the transition from fossil fuels for a cleaner, healthier and more comfortable home.
A key innovation that supports the clean energy movement is highly efficient electric heat pump technology for heating and cooling, water heating and clothes drying. Among the most important upgrades to consider, heat pumps are more efficient than furnaces or boilers and serve double-duty with heating and cooling, making them usable year-round.
When it comes to hot water, an ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heater can save a household of four approximately $470 per year on its electric bills. Plus, these water heaters are eligible for a $300 federal income tax credit for residential energy efficiency, as well as rebates and incentives from local utilities in many areas.
Another important upgrade for a clean energy future is to avoid leakage of conditioned air from your home, and considering more than 90% of single-family homes in the U.S. are under-insulated, this becomes an important to-do. Consider adding modern insulation, sealing leaks and upgrading windows to save money and prevent energy loss.
Sealing air leaks around your home and adding insulation can help your home be more comfortable and energy efficient, providing up to a 10% savings on your annual energy bills. Plus, ENERGY STAR certified (low-e) storm windows can save homeowners up to 20% on their annual heating and cooling bills when installed over single-pane clear glass windows (without existing storm windows).
Finally, if you don't already have a smart thermostat, it's time to make the switch. By upgrading to an affordable ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat, you can reduce your heating and cooling bill by more than 8%.
You can prepare for these upgrades by making sure your home is electric-ready. Even if you’re not planning on making these upgrades immediately, you can work with your electrician to make sure your electric panel can accommodate any additional electric loads.
Guidance for homeowners
Take the first step today and learn more at energystar.gov/HomeUpgrade. Keep in mind, you can choose the improvements that make the most sense for your home and implement them as equipment is replaced.
On average, a homeowner can save about $500 a year on utility bills by installing all elements of an ENERGY STAR Home Upgrade. The upgrades can be made more affordable by taking advantage of generous rebates offered by utilities in some parts of the country, as well as federal income tax credits.