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Anza-Borrego Home Electrification Pilot


Last updated 9/14/2023 at 11:18am

On July 27, the Department of Energy (DOE) released long-awaited guidance on the federal home energy rebates made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes an allotment of $582 million in rebates for California. New research conducted by the Beneficial Electrification League (research initiated before passage of the IRA) shows the rebates, along with combining weatherization and electrification, can overcome the high upfront costs that have thwarted efforts to increase the efficiency of single-family homes.

BEL’s whole-home weatherization and electrification demonstration projects, bolstered by groundbreaking economic research on water heater technologies, have demonstrated a positive outlook for retrofits that can benefit home residents, the environment, and the electric grid.

“The upfront costs of electrifying existing homes, unaffordable for many rural low- and moderate-income households using propane and fuel oil, has long been a barrier to upgrades that could reduce consumer energy bills over the long term,” says Keith Dennis, President of BEL. “Our research shows combining weatherization and high-efficiency appliances can overcome economic barriers to whole home retrofits when combined with rebates, such as those expected to be available as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.”

For the Anza Borego households participating in the project, combining weatherization and electrification dramatically reduced overall energy consumption. A cost analysis shows one family’s monthly energy bill was cut in half. Expected federal rebates from the Inflation Reduction Act will enable electrification and upgrades with minimal or no upfront costs resulting in lower bills – an ongoing challenge for many California households – and increased safety and comfort. The participants are highlighted in the program’s video.

“Electrification is a critical step in reducing energy costs for our members, and newer technology home appliances and equipment are enabling lower costs and a healthier indoor environment. This program is truly a win-win for homeowners and our utility,” said Anza Electric Cooperative General Manager Kevin Short.

This research is significant for the many low and moderate-income rural communities where older homes, especially manufactured homes, rely on expensive propane and other fuels and old appliances. In some rural areas these homes make up 30-40% of the housing stock.

Wells Fargo Foundation funded the project and is helping to share the news and its relevance to the DOE announcement. I’m happy to help connect you with the Building Electrification League (contact information in attached press release) for more information on the technology, cost savings and the positive impact from the pilot in Anza Borego.

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