President Joe Biden persuaded Democrats in Congress to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change. Now comes another formidable task: enticing Americans to buy millions of electric cars, heat pumps, solar panels and more efficient appliances.
It’s a public relations challenge that could determine whether the country meets Biden’s ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.
Relying on tax credits and rebates made the climate legislation — it was approved in August with only Democratic votes — more politically palatable than regulations that force wholesale changes in polluting industries.
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There was a touch of anxiety in the home of Jon and Rachel Rea as a bomb cyclone, with its plummeting subzero temperatures, approached Colorado in December, for the couple no longer had a gas-fired furnace in their basement.
They had replaced the furnace three months earlier with a heat pump and now that new gizmo was going to face a major test. The heat pump gathers the slivers of heat lingering in the air even on a cold day, but with temperatures plunging toward 20 below zero would there be any heat left to capture?
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As the war in Ukraine rages halfway across the world, natural gas prices have hit homeowners harder than ever. As it stands now, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that most Americans spend about $2,000 every year on home energy bills.
Natural gas is slated to become even more expensive in 2023, reaching a 15-year-high, meaning most Americans will pay more to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
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With rising gas prices and unprecedented tax credits and rebates, DR Richardson of Elephant Energy believes that there’s never been a better time to consider electrifying a home.
As of 2020, 11% of Colorado households were all-electric while 82% used natural gas, according to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is compared to the 26% of households nationwide completely powered by electricity.
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The Colorado company is electrifying homes to keep energy use – and costs – as low as possible
Spotted: As part of the move to net zero, many countries are beginning to phase out the use of gas in homes and commercial buildings. In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act includes around $9 billion (approximately €8.5 billion) set aside for home energy rebates to help residents make their homes more energy efficient.
These legislative moves, combined with much higher prices now being paid for energy – and especially for fossil fuels — has led many people to begin thinking about replacing fossil fuels in their home with electricity, which can come from green sources. Colorado-based Elephant Energy is one company that is helping consumers renovate their homes to run on electricity, instead of natural gas and other fossil fuels.
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Dan and Malia Fredrickson used the opportunity of a malfunctioning air conditioner to take a step toward electrifying their home by getting a heat pump, equipment that’s been around for a while but has gotten more attention lately thanks to federal legislation.
Rebates and tax credits for heat pumps, which use electricity to both cool and heat buildings, are among the energy-related provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act 2022. While critics contend and some economists agree that the law is unlikely to significantly decrease inflation, it has been hailed as a substantial investment in addressing climate change.
After talking to friends and experts, the Fredricksons decided to replace their old air conditioner and a furnace “that was kind of on its last legs” with a heat pump. The Boulder couple said environmental concerns were a big reason for the decision.
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One goal of the Inflation Reduction Act, the massive climate and health care bill President Biden signed earlier this month, is to make it a whole lot cheaper to wean homes off of fossil fuels.
The law marks the largest climate investment in U.S. history, with roughly $370 billion set aside for programs that reduce emissions. It includes $9 billion in home energy rebates to help residents make their homes more energy efficient and purchase new electric appliances like stoves and water heaters.
The looming question now is when consumers might actually benefit. While an expanded solar tax credit takes effect immediately, many of the other incentives in the federal law are set to kick in after the end of the year.
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In this edition of the Greenwork blog, we bring you the happy tale of how Elephant Energy performed a whole-home electrification for climate champion Scott Lunt. The company worked with Scott to replace all fossil gas in his home with comfortable, reliable electric equipment.
Scott is a videographer by profession. During the pandemic, he dove into all things Rivian, documenting his journey to electric truck ownership on social media and YouTube as the Rivian Dad. To complement electrifying his transportation, he reached out to Elephant Energy in the early spring of 2022 to electrify his home. The goal was to #electrifyeverything while still maintaining comfort and preserving optionality for future additions.
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BOULDER, CO, Nov. 14, 2022 — A Front Range home-electrification company is expanding its team and service area in anticipation of increased demand due to high natural gas prices and federal incentives to switch to electric heat pumps and stoves.
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After closing a $3.5 million round of funding in September, Boulder-based Elephant Energy, which has focused on the Denver-Boulder corridor since 2021, plans to expand into Fort Collins starting in January. The company is also looking to expand outside Colorado next year but hasn’t yet confirmed those markets.
Over a heat pump’s lifetime, it can save homeowners $10,000 in heating and cooling costs. DR Richardson, co-founder of Boulder startup Elephant Energy.
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