Economic Insider

Eco-friendly Homes have Gained Traction in the US

Many Americans are exploring eco-friendly and secure measures like solar-powered houses and heat pumps due to rising electricity prices and increased inflation.

Josh Hurwitz, a resident of Connecticut, powers his home using solar energy. Josh considered three factors before deciding to switch to a greener approach. First, he wanted to reduce his carbon footprint. Then to save money and continue having electricity whenever his city has a blackout. Josh noted that although finishing the set-up would have been expensive, it would have been worthwhile since he would begin saving money within 15 years of paying it off.

“You have to make the money work. You can have the best of intentions, but if the numbers don’t work, it doesn’t make sense to do it,” he said.

Fortunately, Connecticut’s government offers incentives to those who want to build eco-friendly homes. Additionally, environmentally friendly infrastructure aids in the implementation and enforcement of the Inflation Reduction Act, which encourages the construction of ecologically friendly dwellings like solar-powered ones. By 2024 to 2035, the law is intended to enable 26% of American houses to become environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the government will cover the system’s cost and 30% of the batteries that will be used to store the energy generated by the solar panels put on each home.

“The main thing the law does is give the industry, and consumers, assurance that the tax credits will be there today, tomorrow and for the next ten years. But, unfortunately, rooftop solar is still expensive enough to require some subsidies,” explained Clean Energy States Alliance executive director Warren Leon.

Going green would be expensive. Leon clarifies that tax credits could offset the initial expense. For instance, Hurwitz erected his solar power system in 2020 using a federal tax credit. Many contractors also provide a package where they pay the upfront costs and receive government credit. The installation should be paid for by the owner when it is finished. It would be expensive. The investment would pay off years after installation, though.

“Will this growth have legs? Absolutely! With utility rates going up, it’s a good time to move if you were thinking about it in the first place,” said Veronica Zhang, the portfolio manager of Van Eck Environmental Sustainability Fund.

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More eco-friendly means

To be environmentally friendly, other homes also take into account employing a home heat pump. Furthermore, becoming green would be more appealing to homeowners if the government provided perks and incentives. A heat pump is a single device that takes the role of a house’s conventional heating and cooling system. When coupled with solar panels, the method may cool a house while benefiting the environment. Going green is becoming widely practiced due to increased inflation and rising energy prices. Over 87% of American households feel their energy costs have increased, according to

“These incentives are not only saving you money now and in the long run on your utility bills, but they are putting our economy on track to reduce consumption of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. It’s a win-win,” said the Environmental Law Clinic at Case Western Reserve University School of Law director Miranda Leppla.

Heat pumps are feasible, according to Rewriting America, a nonprofit that aids communities in electrifying their houses. Eco-friendly heat pumps are three to five times more efficient than conventional furnace systems and can adjust to different climates. Heat pumps range in price from $8,000 to $35,000. The cost varies according to the size of the house and the kind of heat pump. Rewriting America said that homeowners might save hundreds of dollars per year by switching to heat pumps that are environmentally friendly.

“While there’s an upfront cost, millions of homeowners would save money with a heat pump over the life of the device. You’ll save even more with the federal government covering a chunk of the upfront cost,” said Joshua Skov, a consultant and instructor at the University of Oregon.

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The US government supporting eco-friendly ways

According to Faith Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, the US government is investing in eco-friendly practices. For instance, the Inflation Reduction Act raises the incentives offered to those who switch to environmentally friendly methods. The IEA noted that additional investment is required for the US to meet its climate targets.

“Today, it’s about 1.3 trillion US dollars, and it will go up to about 2 trillion US dollars. And as a result, we are going to see clean energy, electric cars, solar, hydrogen, and nuclear power slowly but surely, replacing fossil fuels. And why do governments do that? Because of climate change, because of the greenness of the issues? Not at all. The main reason here is energy security,” he said in an interview.

“Energy security concerns, climate commitments, industrial policies — the three of them coming together is a very powerful combination,” he added.

“Energy markets and policies have changed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, not just for the time being, but for decades to come. Even with today’s policy settings, the energy world is shifting dramatically before our eyes. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system,” Birol added.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jubbar J.

Source: CNBC 


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