Energy efficiency is an effective and local way to way to combat the climate crisis and comes with many co-benefits. Beyond the primary benefits of decreasing fossil fuel consumption, reduced energy demand through energy efficiency can improve public health. Decreased energy use is associated with decreased air pollution. Energy efficient multifamily housing reduces energy burden on tenants in the form of lower utility bills. Insulation that improves indoor comfort can decrease the risk of illness. Energy efficiency is one of the most meaningful ways for communities interested in mitigating climate change to promote social equity.

Today, paths toward a more energy efficient future are more straightforward than ever. There are many ways to measure energy efficiency, such as Home Energy Scores; calculators that help individuals or organizations see the economic benefits of increased energy efficiency in their properties; and emerging technologies that can make increased energy efficiency possible in all sectors of our society. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there is an unprecedented range of current clean energy tax credits for homeowners and up and coming point of sale discounts for home electrification. These range from 30% discounts on energy efficiency upgrades through federal tax rebates available right now, to potential 100% discounts on electrification upgrades once the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program becomes available in Wisconsin. Combined with state residential energy efficiency rebates and local programs available for energy efficiency upgrades, there are many opportunities for residents of Madison to get in on the energy efficient future.

The City is strongly committed to energy efficiency. In 2022, Madison joined the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Climate Challenge and committed to improving energy efficiency by 25% across our facilities over the next 10 years. We have supported the establishment and continued operation of the Efficiency Navigator Program, which promotes energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing. Recently, the Common Council adopted the Building Energy Savings Program, which promotes energy efficiency by encouraging energy benchmarks and tune-ups in commercial buildings. These programs are just the beginning as we continue to develop innovative programs and policies within the challenging legal landscape of Wisconsin.

If you would like to find out how you can take advantage of these programs, Dane County has an excellent website describing all the ways you can benefit from federal tax rebates when purchasing and installing energy efficiency technology in your home. It also has an excellent website for businesses to take advantage of incentives for incorporating energy efficiency into new or existing buildings. The League of Conservation Voters has a similar site where you can see Madison-specific programs. The Inflation Reduction Act offers a 30% rebate for a home energy assessment that can get you started on your energy efficiency journey. If your audit is conducted by a Focus on Energy trade ally, they can create a custom plan for you to optimize your energy use, stacking federal, state, and local incentives. For example, for a $4000 Energy Star Qualified Air Sealing by a Focus on Energy Trade Ally, you could receive a $1200 federal tax rebate, a $675 Focus on Energy rebate, and potentially other state income-qualified or local incentives.

We can all help fight climate change and save energy by taking advantage of the unprecedented array of local, state and federal incentives currently available.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.

Category: Sustainability