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Families Don’t Know About IRA Benefits — These Companies Want To Help

When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August, 2022, he said the new law “is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.”

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With the passage of the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), people in the US find themselves able to buy into renewable energy infrastructure for their homes like never before. However, from prevalent media stories about consumer confusion over IRA benefits, it seems clear that a public information campaign is needed to demonstrate the numerous home-based opportunities available within the IRA.

Interestingly, a coalition has been formed to assist people in the US to understand and avail themselves of the decarbonization advantages within the Inflation Reduction Act. They’re not businesses that usually compare notes, and they have very different clients. But they offer connections to a whole lot of US households and built-in outreach that can make IRA benefits more personal.

The Companies That Stepped Up To Be Ambassadors For The IRA

A disparate group of companies is banding together to help inform the public about ways that families can save money and fight climate change by saying goodbye to fossil fuels and electrifying their homes and cars. The 7 companies are joining with Rewiring America to illuminate their clients about the various rebates, tax credits, and low cost financing for electrification and home energy efficiency available under the IRA. Rewiring America is the leading electrification nonprofit, focused on electrifying everything in US communities.

Rewiring America estimates that the average household qualifies for $10,600 in IRA benefits to electrify their lives. The problem is that most families don’t know about them. The non-profit’s program goal is for the coalition to reach 10 million of the 121 million US households through the education campaign.

The participating companies have the ability to get information out about IRA benefits through their platforms and the relationships they already have with consumers. Each of the companies can help consumers to utilize the Rewiring America savings calculator. Families can enter information into the calculator about where they live and their household income to see what federal electrification and efficiency incentives they qualify for.

Airbnb: Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people who want to rent out their homes with people who are looking for accommodations in specific locales. Hosts on its platform will be able to ​“adopt more sustainable practices for their homes,” Ameet Konkar, head of sustainability at the company, said in a statement. ​“We are excited to equip them with the right information and tools.”

Arcadia: This utility and energy market data platform partners with community solar developers. “It’s exciting” that the campaign brings together ​“companies from very different parts of the American economy,” said Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of Arcadia, a company with deep roots in the climate sphere. “All day, Arcadia talks about clean energy and savings around electricity. But having [other] companies talk about your transportation and your food and housing — that’s really important,” he told Canary Media. It brings the message to far more customers, he added.

Duquesne Light Company: A Pennsylvania power utility, Duquesne Light, offers a flagship apprenticeship program, recognizes the importance of equity and disability awareness, participates in clean energy action, celebrates its Hispanic customers, and is an advocate for consumer preparedness. The IRA initiative will build on these endeavors with its customer base.

Lyft: Lyft wants to help its drivers break up with their gas-guzzling cars. ​“The benefits included in the IRA will help more Americans, including many who drive with Lyft, finally afford an electric vehicle,” Paul Augustine, director of sustainability at Lyft, added in the same announcement. The awareness campaign ​“is an important step” in letting drivers know that funds are available.

Mosaic: A company that provides loans for home solar installations and efficiency upgrades, Mosaic has already organized two webinars for its 3,200 clean energy contractors and other solar and home energy professionals on the benefits available in the climate law. Hundreds attended, said Sam Jammal, Mosaic’s chief of staff, and the groups created easily shareable FAQs to address common questions as a result.

Propel: Propel builds the Providers app, which is used by over 5 million families across the country to manage their SNAP benefits and money. Through the app, households who receive government benefits can save and earn money, and Providers will be a major distribution channel for IRA rebates focused on low-income families.

Redfin: A real estate brokerage with offices across the US, Redfin intends to provide home buyers and owners more information on ​“how to renovate their homes to emit fewer greenhouse gasses,” Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, said in a statement. Redfin reports that more than 50 million prospective home buyers visit its website each month looking at properties.

Handy Guides to IRA Benefits

The IRA builds on the foundational climate and clean energy investments in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Two texts have become available, in addition, to help everyone navigate IRA benefits and see if there is a match for them.

One is called Building a Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action.This guidebook released by the White House provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, including who is eligible to apply for funding and for what activities. “The guidebook is a critical resource to help people and communities get the information needed to use the incentives found in the climate law,” according to Lori Lodes, executive director, Climate Power.

Go Electric Guide describes the IRA as “a free electric bank account with your name on it.” As “your own personal fund to help you go electric,” it can help you to decide if now is the right time to swap out your old, fossil-fueled appliances for new, clean electric ones. Moreover, it helps consumers plan the transition to electric appliances over the next 10 years.

As a complementary step, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced a proposed rule making to electrify new Federal buildings and Federal buildings undergoing major renovations. The press release announcing this rule making said that, as the country’s single largest energy consumer and building manager, these new actions have the potential to save taxpayer dollars by reducing energy use while cutting millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, increasing resilience, strengthening US energy independence, and growing the jobs of the future in America.

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Written By

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a Model Y as well as a Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.


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