The U.S. Department of Energy reports that low-income households face an energy burden – the portion of income spent on home energy costs – three times higher than other households, leading to tough budgeting decisions for many Americans.
Energy efficiency is an important way to tackle home energy costs and can also support sustainability. Knowing that these issues are important to their customers and communities, Wells Fargo contributed more than $19 million last year to nonprofits that aim to advance sustainability, including a $500,000 grant to the Beneficial Electrification League.
Whether your motivations are economic, sustainability-related or both, Keith Dennis, president of the Beneficial Electrification League, offers these smart tips to help you curb your energy consumption this winter:
- Give energy-efficient gifts. Leverage gift spending on items that can help you save down the line by giving energy-efficient gifts to members of your household this holiday season. Look for gas alternative products like electric lawn tools, bikes and scooters, smart devices and appliances. Energy-efficient electric products offer good results, are often more cost efficient, and support sustainability. Certain retrofits, updates and upgrades may even qualify your household for additional savings via a rebate, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
- Request an energy audit of your home. With an home energy audit, you can obtain your Energy Star rating, important information regarding your energy usage, and identify sources of energy loss, which you can then take actions to correct. Resources for obtaining a professional energy audit or conducting one yourself can be found at energy.gov.
- Beat the peak. Ask your utility provider about discounted rates. Some offer cheaper rates during parts of the day when general usage is down — think early in the day or late at night. Strategically tackle your energy bills by not doing laundry and other energy-intensive chores at peak times. Hours considered “peak” are typically 4pm to 8pm, when people are returning home from work or school.
- Take advantage of tax credits. Making energy improvements to your home? The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 expanded the tax credit amounts and types of qualifying expenses available. Look for tax credits on items like new energy-efficient exterior doors, windows, central air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces, boilers and heat pumps.
- Utilize electric technology. Consider installing a smart thermostat, smart switches, or smart home devices for energy-intensive household items like, lights and heating systems. Smart technology is designed to automatically adjust to your needs, helping you save energy and money.
During a long cold winter, energy-efficient technologies and updates can help you weather the season, for a cozier home, and a lower-carbon future.