Climate Minute #1 – Getting to Zero!
Green Energy Committee Introduces “Climate Minute”
The Lincoln Green Energy Committee (GEC) works to help residents and others reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation and the use of appliances and vehicles powered by renewable electricity. Periodically, the GEC will issue a “Climate Minute,” a short message explaining and encouraging efforts to reduce emissions. Below is our first.
Climate Minute #1 – Getting to Zero!
To reduce emissions from our homes (ultimately to zero), we need to conserve energy and move from fossil fuels to electric systems. Current Massachusetts and Federal incentives help reduce the up-front cost of this change. Getting your home to zero emissions has three main components: Insulate, Electrify and Obtain Electricity from Renewable Sources.
Insulate: Tighten up the thermal envelope of your home by sealing openings, increasing insulation, and improving windows. See the MassSave site for details on rebates and loans for air sealing and insulation and for windows.
75% - 100% rebates on air sealing and approved insulation. (A Lincoln resident had cellulose insulation blown into exterior walls at a total cost of about $3,000; after rebates she paid only $750.)
$75 off each triple-pane window replacing a single-pane one.
$25,000 “HEAT” loans at 0% interest for 7 years for approved insulation and for triple-pane windows replacing single panes.
Federal incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) include up to $1,200 in tax credits for such work, depending on income. Tax credits reset each year for up to ten years, so spreading the work out can save you money.
This calculator will estimate the IRA incentives available to you: www.rewiringamerica.org/app/ira-calculator.
Every dollar spent on weatherizing saves you money for as long as you own your home. See the “Weatherize First” section of Heat Pumps 101 for more details on the process and goals.
Electrify: Convert from fossil fuels to electric power for the major systems in your home: Heating/Cooling, Water Heating, Vehicles, Cooking and Clothes Drying. Significant financial incentives will ease the transition. HEAT loans help cover the cost of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters.
IRA incentives again include significant upfront discounts and 30% tax credits for all of the systems listed above. A family of two with $160,000 in income would qualify for over $34,000 in incentives. Consult the calculator mentioned above for more details.
Electrify Everything in Your Home is an accessible and informative guide to thinking about and planning for this transition. You can download it for free. This guide helps you preview the process of replacing systems and planning the transition, with an emissions-free home at the end. The authors of this book estimate that moving three systems to renewable electricity would eliminate 85% of your house/vehicle emissions: cars – 50%, heating/cooling – 25% and water heating – 10%.
Here are some links to information about heat pumps and electric vehicles on the GEC’s website (LincolnGreenEnergy.org).
Obtain Electricity from Renewable Sources: Finally, you’ll need to obtain 100% renewable electricity, such as through Lincoln Green Energy Choice.
If we want to significantly reduce emissions from our homes, we need to begin and sustain a transition from fossil-fuel powered systems to electrically powered ones. This transition won’t happen overnight but should begin now, since most of us will need to spread the costs out over time. Massachusetts’ goals are a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2050. The sooner we can begin reducing our emissions the less we will produce between now and 2050.
The GEC recognizes that a household’s greenhouse gas emissions are not limited to those from the house and the family’s vehicles. They also flow from travel, dietary choices, consumption patterns and such, all of which deserve action. However, in this first post, we focus only on house and vehicle emissions.