Electrification 101

Resource Roundup for Your Climate-Friendly Home Journey

WHEW, we made it. The home stretch, the last chapter, the grand finale—whatever you want to call it. It’s our seventh and final post in our climate-friendly home series. In this final edition, we’re sharing a roundup of all our favorite resources to help make your climate-friendly journey as simple as possible. Read on for a whole host of helpful guides, databases, toolkits, and more—and drop us a line if you think there’s something we should add. 

Guides to Climate-Friendly Home Upgrades:  

All Things Solar: 

Incentives & Rebates 

Still looking for a resource to help you determine where to start your climate-friendly home journey? Look no further than Elephant’s tool, Your Electrification Roadmap®. By answering some simple questions and providing a few key details about your goals and preferences, you can get a personalized plan to simplify your journey to home electrification. 

Incentives Better than Ever for Your Climate-Friendly Home

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been digging into all the pieces that go into making your place as climate-friendly as possible: from the appliances and systems you install, to the type(s) of energy you use, to the importance of maximizing efficiency and taking care of your stuff so it lasts.

We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that, at some point in your reading, the question of cost has crossed (or perhaps even consumed) your mind. And whether you’re in the camp of “hmm, seems expensive. I’m not sure how I’d swing it,” or “pssh, in my DREAMS. Someone’s gotta pay for this, and I can’t do it,” hang tight. We’ve got you covered. Let’s dig into all the incentives available to help make these solutions more affordable and accessible than ever. 

Federal Incentives 

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) 

Passed in August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act was the most significant investment in greenhouse gas reductions ever in the US. It offers both tax credits and rebates to homeowners looking to make their spaces more energy-efficient and climate-friendly. Here are just a few of the ways you can save now: 

  • Rooftop solar and battery storage tax credits (30% of total project cost, up to $2000 max credit) Climate-friendly home incentives from Elephant Energy
  • Heat pump tax credit (up to $8000, depending on income) 
  • Heat pump water heater tax credit (up to $2000) 
  • Weatherization/energy efficiency tax credit (up to $1,200) 

If you’re looking for a handy tool to see how much your home, specifically, could save through IRA incentives, check out Rewiring America’s great IRA calculator

Additionally, states can apply for funding for direct-pay rebates (HEEHRA rebates) that will provide an upfront, point-of-sale reduction to your project. We’re still waiting for more details on the timing of these rebates—stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter (find the form in the footer of our homepage). 

Psst—Learn more about making the most of IRA incentives right here

State and Local Incentives 

Sorry to go all 1 AM infomercial on ya, but that’s not all, folks! Read on, if you’re in CO or MA:

Turns out there are plenty of local and state-specific incentives in addition to the aforementioned federal ones. For instance, Coloradoans can take advantage of a state tax credit and sales tax exemption on heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and certain energy storage systems. And Massachusetts residents can save significantly on climate-friendly home upgrades through the Mass Save rebates program. There’s a ton of variation between different states, counties, and even local utility companies—and, in our final edition of this series, we’ll be sharing a whole host of resources to help you find and take advantage of those programs. 

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Forgotten where to start? Learn more about the electrification upgrades that will make the most impact in your specific home with our free tool, Your Electrification Roadmap®. Answer a few quick questions, and we’ll give you a plan designed to meet your distinct needs. 

Rule 3: Be Efficient (Part 2)

Hello. Welcome back to our climate-friendly home series. We’re stoked you’re here. If you’re new to the party, here’s what we’ve covered thus far: 

  1. The basics of a climate-friendly home 
  2. Rule 1: Don’t burn stuff 
  3. Rule 2: Don’t use energy made from burning stuff 
  4. Rule 3: Be efficient. 

Today, we’re digging deeper into rule 3. Where our last edition focused on the importance of energy audits and weatherization, this post is all about making sure your systems are running the way they are supposed to run, AND that you aren’t replacing things all the time. 

Embracing this rule comes with lots of perks: It can help ensure you aren’t stuck with a broken heating system when the in-laws are visiting over the holidays (yikes), prevent an unforeseen trip to the local appliance store on what was supposed to be a spectacular ski weekend (eek), and make your place a climate-friendly haven (yay!). Want to learn more? Let’s get into it. 

Why It’s Important to Make Things Last

Take care of you heat pump and other energy-efficient appliancesTo understand why “making it last” is so critical for efficiency, we first need to do a teeny science lesson on something called embodied energy.  

Let’s say you buy a new fridge. It’s a rad new fridge with a computer that tells you when to buy new milk. As the most efficient fridge of its size, it will use 10% less energy than your old fridge. This is cool. (See what we did there?)

That fridge is made of parts and materials that took energy to make.
It took energy to put it on a boat and get it across the ocean to a warehouse.
It took energy to get it delivered to the store where you bought it, and more energy to get it to you and get it installed.

All that energy tied up in making that fridge and getting it to you? That’s embodied energy. And while that feels like a lot, the reality is that, over time, your energy-efficient fridge is going to “pay for” that embodied energy by SAVING lots of energy each year. So getting that new one IS better for the planet…in the long run.

But what if you have to buy a new one every 5 years? Does it “pay for” itself then? Nope. That’s why, beyond saving yourself the extra expense of having to replace appliances more often than necessary, making things last is a crucial component of a climate-friendly home. 

So, How Do We “Make It Last”? 

In short: We’ve gotta take care of our stuff. We’ve got to do our required yearly maintenance, as well as recommended preventative maintenance. 

This means we need to vacuum the fridge coils. Change the filters on our heat pumps. Keep our induction stovetops nice and clean. Regularly flush our heat pump water heaters. Doing this maintenance ensures our system doesn’t have to work extra hard (i.e., inefficiently) because the filter is super dirty or other maintenance hasn’t been performed. 

If keeping our systems maintained gives us an additional couple of years of life for our systems and appliances, that might mean that we buy one whole fridge fewer over our lifetime (in other words—BIG embodied and pocketbook energy savings). 

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If you’re in an Elephant Energy coverage area (Colorado and Massachusetts, and more to come), give us a shout to learn about our maintenance packages that’ll keep your climate-friendly upgrades in tip-top shape. And if we aren’t in your area yet, ask your installation specialists when you make these home upgrades to see what they offer by way of keeping your systems singing year after year.

Rule 3: Be Efficient (Part 1)

Hi, hello, and welcome back to Elephant’s climate-friendly home series! In each edition, we’re breaking down simple steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint so you can feel good in your home and feel good about your home. Here’s what we’ve covered so far: 

Today, we’re digging into rule number 3: Be efficient. This one’s a biggun, so we’ve split it into two parts. Ready to learn about all things efficiency in your home? Read on. 

What “Be Efficient” Entails 

Imagine this: You’re walking down a sunny street in your local business district on a warm summer day. As you meander past a store, you’re met by a WHOOSH of blissfully cool air being pushed out to you on the sidewalk—their door is open and their AC is on full blast. While a delicious moment for you and your sweaty face, it’s pretty awful for the store’s climate impact (not to mention their energy bills). 

When we talk about being efficient, we’re talking about NOT doing this. And believe it or not, if you haven’t weatherized your home, you’ve probably been doing something similar the entire time you’ve owned your place. Every house tends to have leaky areas—where cold air is able to escape during the summer and heated air during the winter. The great news? By doing an energy audit and doing the necessary weatherization upgrades, you can put your home on the path to maximum efficiency. 

What It Looks Like in Your Home 

The first step to upping your home’s efficiency is getting an energy audit. During an audit, an expert conducts a thorough inspection toReceive an energy audit! Elephant Energy can help. pinpoint precisely where there are inefficiencies (i.e., cracks, crevices, and leaks where air is escaping) throughout your home. This includes inspecting heating and cooling systems, insulation, window integrity, sealing, and more. 

Once you’ve completed an energy audit, you can make the weatherization upgrades that will have the greatest impact on ensuring your place is comfortable, efficient, and environmentally friendly—talk about a wins-all-around situation! 

Remember how we mentioned this rule encompassed a LOT? Though weatherization is a huge component of being efficient in your home, it’s not the only component. Stay tuned for our next post in the series, where we’ll dig into more ways to up your home’s efficiency and make it as comfortable and climate-friendly as possible. 

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Want to learn more about how to make your home as climate-friendly as possible? Our tool, Your Electrification Roadmap®, gives you personalized recommendations based on your distinct preferences, goals, and needs.

Rule 2: Don’t Use Energy Made from Burning Stuff

And…we’re back! Howdy. Hope you had a great week/weekend/whatever day of the week it was for you. Whether you spent the time since our last post looking at all the ways that you can stop burning stuff in your home, are just now diving back in on your climate-friendly home journey, or are joining us for the first time, we’re glad you’re here. (Psst – if this is your first time here, we recommend starting with our intro to the climate-friendly home, followed by our blog on rule number 1, before digging into rule number 2 here!) 

Today, we’re talking about Elephant Energy’s rule number 2 for a climate-friendly home: Don’t use energy made from burning stuff. Ready to learn more about what that means and what it looks like to put this rule into practice? Let’s begin. 

What “Don’t Use Energy Made from Burning Stuff” Looks Like 

Heat pump from Elephant EnergyIn our last post, we explored the different upgrades you can make to stop burning stuff in your home. TL;DR: There are tons of climate-friendly solutions available to help you quit burning things (ahem, gas) at home. 

But what about the energy needed to power these climate-friendly upgrades? 

Enter: rule number 2 of Elephant’s climate-friendly home. As its name suggests, this rule is all about the type of energy you’re using in your house. And spoiler alert: just like a climate-friendly home doesn’t burn stuff, it also doesn’t use energy that comes from burning stuff. 

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to tap into clean and renewable energy sources instead of relying on that coal burning plant:

Option 1: Make Your Own Energy 

Obviously, your best bet is to make your own energy. You might start by looking into installing solar or geothermal, both of which are great, renewable sources of energy (with lots of incentives available to make them more affordable). And the great thing about making your own clean energy? You can design your system to meet your home’s distinct needs. 

That said, these options aren’t available to everyone (big hugs to those of you with flat roofs or lots-o-shade).

Option 2: Join Community Programs

If you can’t make your own, your next best energy option is to join a community solar program. These programs allow you to either purchase a portion of a community array or pay a subscription fee for a portion of the energy a community system produces. Unlike rooftop systems, the energy generated from a community solar project is not used to power owners’ and/or subscribers’ homes directly: Instead, it replaces (or reduces) what they pay their utility company for electricity.

Option 3: Purchase Clean Energy 

And if neither of those is an option? We recommend buying green or checking out local or state programs for renewable energy and efficiency. By making small (or large!) adjustments to where you’re getting your energy, you can reduce your home’s carbon footprint, thus putting you one step closer to a climate-friendly home. 

So, there you have it! By embracing renewable sources of energy, you’re well on your way to having a climate-friendly home. Stay tuned for next week, where we’ll dig into rule number 3: Be efficient. 

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Want to transition to a climate-friendly home, but overwhelmed by how many options are out there? Check out our electrification roadmap tool. In less than five minutes, you’ll have a personalized roadmap that shows you exactly where to begin.