Lyft, Airbnb and other companies join forces to help you go electric

An unexpected coalition aims to assist Americans in taking advantage of the decarbonization benefits in the Inflation Reduction Act.

A woman reads about heat pumps on a red tablet while her young daughter laughs on the couch
Seattle resident Nikki Mazzei researches heat pumps with daughter Billie. (Marcela Gara, Resource Media)
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A motley crew of companies is banding together to help inform the public on how families can save money and fight climate change by ditching fossil fuels and electrifying their homes and cars.

On Wednesday, the White House announced that seven companies are joining with electrification nonprofit Rewiring America in a collaborative effort to educate their users and customers on the panoply of rebates, tax credits and low-cost financing for electrification and home energy efficiency available under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Hailing from wide-ranging sectors of the economy, the companies are:

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  • Airbnb
  • Arcadia, a utility and energy market data platform partnering with community solar developers
  • Duquesne Light Company, a Pennsylvania power utility 
  • Lyft
  • Mosaic, a company that provides loans for home solar installations and efficiency upgrades
  • Propel, a software developer for low-income households and creators of the Providers app for managing SNAP food-assistance benefits
  • Redfin, a real estate brokerage with offices across the U.S.
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When households jettison fossil fuel appliances, they can cut their energy bills. For example, heating costs are expected to rise this winter as natural gas prices go up, but uber-efficient electric heat pumps — air conditioners that do double duty as furnaces — will help keep owners’ costs down.

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. 

One of the best ways for people to get that information is through platforms [of companies] that they have relationships with already and engage with on a regular basis,” said Ari Matusiak, CEO of Rewiring America. The member companies can push the pro-electrification message out to their networks.

Rewiring America set a goal for the coalition to reach 10 million of the 121 million U.S. households through the education campaign in the next couple of years,” Matusiak told Canary Media. 

Some of the companies are not traditionally climate-focused. But all have broad reach — Redfin alone reports that more than 50 million prospective homebuyers scour its website each month looking at properties — and unique reasons for wanting to engage their customers on home electrification. 

For example, Redfin aims to provide homebuyers and owners more information on how to renovate their homes to emit fewer greenhouse gasses,” Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, said in a statement.

Airbnb wants hosts on its platform to 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.”

And 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.

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. 

The coalition makes it easier to share expertise among the companies on the complex clean energy landscape. In America, we have 50 states and what can feel like 50 energy markets,” Bhatraju said. We’re going to do our part to help…other companies as they have questions on how to navigate [them].”

Companies could use a range of tactics for educating their constituencies. For instance, Rewiring America and Mosaic, which works with 3,200 clean-energy contractors, organized two webinars in September for 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.

Another great tool” that Jammal said companies can draw on is Rewiring America’s 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. (Canary gave the online tool a whirl in its early days.)

When a family’s gas furnace breaks down, they’ll be faced with a choice to replace that system, Jammal said: stick with fossil gas or go with an electric heat pump?

That decision largely depends on…the contractor understanding those products and the incentives attached to them,” Jammal said. But it also hinges on the consumer asking for them.”

With the new coalition of companies, which will add more members over the coming months, the goal is to create a connection with every household in America and enable them to understand what benefits are available to them,” Matusiak said.

Alison F. Takemura is staff writer at Canary Media.