Save Energy, Save Money

Posted on 11/14/23

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Save Energy, Save Money

A monthly column by Michael Schultz, MS, AARP Oregon State Volunteer President

January 2024: Think Cozy, Think Weatherization!

Want lower utility bills? Want to earn a tax credit? Prioritize weatherization! Often the best way to reduce energy spending is to better insulate your home and reduce air leaks in older windows and doors. The result is more dollars in your pocket due to reductions in energy costs for lost heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

If you make qualified energy-efficient improvements to your home after Jan. 1, 2023, you may qualify for a tax credit up to $3,200. You can claim the credit for improvements made through 2032. When those improvements include window replacements, consider utilizing a currently certified contractor found here.

Alexandra, a Portland AARP member who recently made numerous weatherization improvements, remembers her home weatherization project knowledge was greatly helped by consulting for local information on options in her community and with her utility provider. She found there were even projects she could complete herself with a single trip to purchase low-cost space filling products and personal protective equipment (PPE). She found these instructions invaluable when it came time to complete her DIY home weatherization project.

December 2023: Electric Vehicles

On the streets of your area, you have surely noticed new vehicles that are different. They may be quiet, contain new features or styling and they do not have a traditional tailpipe. If they are plug-in electric vehicles (EV), they can save you money by reducing the ongoing costs of operating a vehicle below what you pay for a gas-powered vehicle by hundreds of dollars per year on average. And, they can save you money on your taxes because the federal Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits for these purchases.

In 2023, you may qualify for a federal tax credit up to $7,500, depending on the vehicle’s use, ownership and your modified adjusted gross income level. To claim the credit, use IRS form 8936. More information is available here on the tax credit.

Jamilla, a Portland resident who recently made an EV purchase says: “I compared the new cars I was interested in on a comprehensive new electric vehicle website. There were easy to understand comparisons among 30 makes of vehicles covering range, price, tax credits available and other features I care about. I also found good information about EV charger incentives from my utility on this website.”

November 2023: Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters

Don’t let this get away from you—upgrading your home can provide you tax credits in 2023 (and in future years). The Federal Inflation Reduction Act contains three categories of energy-efficient home improvements that can generate credits today (depending on household income, and equipment efficiency).

Focusing in on an upgrade that you might be able to get installed before December 31, 2023, your water heater can generate tax credits of up to 30% of installation costs if it is a Heat Pump model. Heat Pump water heaters are sometimes called hybrid water heaters. They look just like conventional water heaters but use a fraction of the energy, saving you on the monthly operating cost as well.

The Heat Pump water heater takes heat from its surroundings using an evaporator and a compressor to heat and store water at 130 degrees F. Informational video for more details on operation in your home setting.

Local information on this product can be found via many sources. Phillip, a Salem resident who installed a unit in his home this year says, “I looked at this website to get to a supplier and installer and information on incentives to make sure my old water heater would be replaced quickly to save me money on this basic home appliance.”

This story is provided by AARP Oregon. Visit the AARP Oregon page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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