Clean energy journalism for a cooler tomorrow

DOE’s new tool helps you get your share of the climate law’s billions

The Biden administration launched a hub to walk you through the process of accessing Inflation Reduction Act incentives for energy audits, heat pumps, EVs and more.
By Alison F. Takemura

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Cartoon graphic showing woman of color outside home with solar panels and wind turbine, tree and bushes.

With the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration unleashed a torrent of incentives to help individuals electrify their homes and vehicles — and thereby slash their energy bills, improve air quality and cut carbon pollution. Now, the U.S. Department of Energy has created the Energy Savings Hub, a one-stop shop to put those tax credits and rebates at consumers’ fingertips.

The IRA provides American households with, on average, $10,600 to electrify, nonprofit Rewiring America estimates.

But this bonanza of incentives will only help people if they know about them,” said Emily Rossi, DOE’s deputy digital director, who helped design the energy savings hub. A survey from January found that two-thirds of U.S. adults had heard little or nothing about the Inflation Reduction Act, and even after being briefed on the law, only 22 percent thought it would benefit them personally.

The recently launched DOE hub could help change that. Rewiring America and other nonprofits have created resources to show consumers what the climate bill could do for them, but the savings hub is notably different in that it was created by a U.S. federal agency. Dozens of partners, from policy experts and community liaisons to tax experts at the Internal Revenue Service, collaborated on the hub to make it as accurate and accessible as possible, Rossi told Canary Media.

By helping people access incentives to electrify, the hub could help close the gap to the administration’s goal to halve U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; according to Rewiring America, consumer household choices are linked to more than 40 percent of U.S. emissions.

The hub is like a giant choose-your-own-adventure electrification catalog for Americans. It has separate sections tailored to whether you’re a homeowner, renter or driver and shows you relevant upgrades, such as getting a new EV, an energy audit, an uber-efficient heat pump or solar panels — and how the federal government will help you pay for them.

There’s still this misconception that clean energy technology and energy-efficient appliances aren’t for everyone yet — that they’re too expensive or they’re not widespread enough,” Rossi said. We’re trying to cut through that misinformation.”

Over 65,000 individuals have visited the site since it launched in late April. Visitors are coming to the webpage directly, but also through the sites of several community groups, federal partners and state governments, including those of Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin, according to the DOE.

The hub brims with electrification information. Here’s how to get the most out of it.

1. Use the hub to plan your upgrades. You might be so inspired by the abundance of electrification and efficiency ideas that you want to do them all — immediately.

But some of the 30 percent tax credit incentives are subject to an annual cap that resets each year: $1,200 in most cases but $2,000 for heat pumps and heat-pump water heaters. The hub clearly identifies the incentives that have a yearly cap so users can prioritize and strategize: Instead of getting both a heat-pump water heater and a mini-split system at the same time, for instance, you might want to do one this year and another next to get the full tax credit on each installation.

DOE recommends starting with a home energy audit, but that only claims up to $150 of the annual cap, leaving you plenty of room for other improvements. New insulation, anyone?

Icons and text cards listing different home improvement measures: Battery storage, Doors (exterior, energy efficient), etc.
Screenshot of some home-improvement ideas incentivized by the Inflation Reduction Act on the DOE Savings Hub. Note that other tabs let users explore incentive information on appliances and electric vehicles. (DOE)

2. Dig in to find the lesser-known options. Because the hub captures all the upgrades that homeowners or renters can legally get government-funded discounts on, it has some listings that might surprise you: from home ventilation systems to solar water heaters.

3. Check out the renters page, even if you’re a homeowner. It has do-it-yourself tips and tricks to reduce home energy costs. One of our favorites: using your ceiling fan to keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Cartoon graphic of fan: turning clockwise in the winter to redistribute warm air saves up 15% in heating costs.
Switching the direction a ceiling fan spins, typically via a small switch on the fan’s side, helps gently redistribute warm air in a room. (Learn Metrics HVAC Systems)

Rewiring America offers guidance on which upgrades are likely to be top picks for renters.

4. Get the relevant tax forms to claim your credits. The hub makes this tedious task incredibly easy. For instance, are you buying a new or used EV? You’ll find a link to the IRS form you need: 8936.

A card of text describing a $7,500 tax credit for eligible vehicles on
Screenshot from the DOE Savings Hub that gives information about the tax credit for purchasing new EVs, which IRS form to fill out and where to find a list of eligible vehicles. (DOE)

5. Find out when the home energy rebates are available. Beyond the tax credits, which are available now, the IRA includes two rebate programs for home energy improvements. These rebates aren’t available yet, but for upgrades they impact, the hub notes: Stay tuned as the Home Energy Rebates programs are deployed nationwide and administered through your State Energy Offices.” As DOE officials are the ones both creating the guidelines for states and running the hub, it’s likely hub visitors will be among the first to know.

6. Check out DOE’s snappy videos that demystify home energy improvements. They feature cameos from a golden retriever named Sparky, who, as other animals have before him, is helping to make the clean energy transition more approachable. The video shorts released so far, which are captioned in Spanish and English, explain heat pumps, induction stoves and home weatherization for a general audience. (Crave more science? Nerd out with Canary Media’s deep dive into how induction stoves actually work.)

DOE’s Clean Energy 101 videos for consumers (DOE)

Alison F. Takemura is staff writer at Canary Media. She reports on home electrification, building decarbonization strategies and the clean energy workforce.