When we moved to Forest Park over two decades ago, my first wish was to install solar panels, but there were many roadblocks at the time. So we optimized energy consumption instead, from lightbulbs to smart meters and overall mindfulness on avoiding waste in as many forms as we could figure out, from composting (half of U.S. landfills are stuffed with food waste apparently) to insulation (we got recycled denim instead of fiberglass on our attic). 

Along the way, a hybrid Honda Civic car meant that we only needed to load on gas every two weeks instead of every week like with our previous Honda Civic. We eventually installed the solar panels and bought two electric cars (one used) that we charge at home most of the time (for drives out of town we stop to charge somewhere). We do not miss gas stations, motor rumbling and noise, most car maintenance, or the time and attention it took to deal with all that.

We know that this was all possible because we could take the time to look into the correct information available as if it were a hobby, yet something that has paid off both in terms of savings and quality of life. Now with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the things that we did over the years are much easier to figure out, and have extra support. 

Why the extra support? Because the big picture is now clear. It is not just that fossil fuel industries are responsible for the pollution that is harming the web of life as we know it, but the pollution is being channeled through you and me, and anybody who needs food, shelter and transport. 

This means over 30% of pollution in the country is coming from home appliances and over 40% if we add our means of personal transportation. And we are paying for it dearly, not just in the cost of utilities and fuel, but with our personal health. For example, an important cause of asthma derives from air pollutants emitted from appliances such as furnaces and kitchen ranges inside our very houses.

In short, the Inflation Reduction Act has been created to reduce our dependence on obsolete polluting appliances and devices that are causing harm at global and personal scales, and drastically reduce the monetary and health costs associated with paying for utilities, services, and being sick, not to mention the time involved.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits such as:

  • $2,000 for a HVAC heat pump (a device that replaces both a/c and furnace)
  • $2,000 for a heat pump water heater
  • $1,200 for weatherization
  • $600 for electrical panels
  • $600 for windows
  • $500 for doors
  • 30% for battery storage
  • 30% for geothermal heating
  • 30% for rooftop solar installation

In late 2023, there will be electrification rebates for up to:

  • $8,000 for heat pump AC/heaters
  • $8,000 for some home energy efficiency upgrades
  • $4,000 for electrical panels
  • $2,500 for electric wiring
  • $1,750 for heat pump water heaters
  • $1,600 for weatherization
  • $840 for electric stoves (note that induction electric ranges are as good if not better than gas in terms of heat adjustment, not to mention that there is no energy waste like in old coil electric or natural gas versions. We got a portable one last year, just to try, and that is all we use now!).

To check on your eligibility for tax credits and rebates, the government has set an IRA calculator where you can enter the size of your home, its location and annual income. 

The main website where you can find the IRA calculator is https://www.rewiringamerica.org and it is full of good information, including a fact sheet for starters. 

Let’s get our homes ready for the future Forest Park, for our families and for our home planet!

Dr. Julieta Aguilera, a Forest Park resident for over two decades, is a Climate Reality trainee and mentor.