By: Jose Arrieta
The effects of climate change become more pronounced as every year passes. This summer is no exception: increased heat waves, floods, wildfires, and droughts likely triggered by climate change have resulted in infrastructure issues and health problems for people around the world, especially in the United States. Because of these ongoing issues, 69% of Americans approve of the federal government’s decision to take action toward carbon neutrality.
Contrary to popular belief, U.S. corporations aren’t the only entities with big carbon footprints. Surprisingly, home energy usage is responsible for 1 billion metric tons of carbon pollution yearly. For instance, in a typical single-family home, 54% of total energy goes towards heating and cooling alone.
Because households are responsible for such a significant carbon footprint, energy-efficient appliances like heat pumps, for example, have been singled out for their ability to run on electricity rather than fossil fuels while simultaneously providing heating and cooling capabilities. While heat pumps can be expensive and are newer to the American HVAC scene, the U.S. government has fast tracked incentivization for homeowners to install them through several policies and programs.
The Defense Production Act was reenacted under the Biden administration with the goal of making climate change a national security issue and providing capital to boost the domestic production of heat pumps and similar technologies to lower carbon footprints. What does the DPA do? It gives the President the ability, through executive order, to direct private companies to prioritize orders from the federal government. The President is empowered to allocate materials, services, and facilities for national defense purposes and take actions to restrict the hoarding of supplies. The President can also offer loans or guarantee loans for national defense purposes.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which the Senate recently passed, includes a home improvement credit for energy-efficient upgrades. It also allows households to deduct up to 30% of the cost of upgrades from their taxes. Additionally, the IRA allocates $370 billion in tax rebates and credits to incentivize Americans to replace their old air conditioners or furnaces with heat pumps (marketplace.org).
State incentives for replacing typical heating systems with heat pumps are also becoming more available. For example, Massachusetts’ Mass Save program, sponsored by local electric and gas utilities, provides residential building owners with rebates that help offset the cost of installing heat pumps.
Although heat pumps only contribute to 35% of total new heating sales, by 2050, it’s estimated they will constitute 90% of new heating unit sales. Dalrada is working to meet this growing demand and launch heat pumps in the residential space after testing them in larger commercial facilities. This new technology has cost and energy-saving implications across many sectors, from hotels and hospitals to universities and private homes.
Ultimately, there are growing motivators for American homeowners to consider heat pumps and additional sustainable appliances for the home. Furthermore, the U.S. government has launched incentive programs to increase the financial accessibility of heat pumps and other energy-efficient technologies via tax deductions. On the local level, nonprofit groups and many local governments also incentivize heat pumps for their citizens.
The bottom line is simple: if you want to make a difference by decreasing your own carbon footprint as well as the world’s, installing a heat pump should be at the top of your list. Dalrada looks forward to soon developing a new program for homeowners to easily upgrade to modern heat pumps that are environmentally friendly while taking advantage of new tax laws, rebates, and other incentives.