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Report: Deep Retrofits Can Halve Homes’ Energy Use and Emissions 



Read the report which analyzes why federal support is needed to offset upfront costs when rapidly scaling retrofits.

Scaling Them to Address Climate Crisis Requires Federal Support

Upgrading homes with thick insulation, thorough air sealing, efficient heat pumps, and other measures can more than halve their energy use and planet-warming emissions, offering a win-win opportunity to improve residents’ comfort, lower their utility bills, and address the climate crisis, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report shows that, to rapidly scale these retrofits, federal support is needed to offset upfront costs.

Deep retrofits that include a robust package of such upgrades can cut a home’s energy use by 58% to 79% and its emissions by 32% to 56%, depending on the home’s age and regional climate. They include simple measures, such as switching to LED light bulbs or buying insulated shades, and costlier ones, such as replacing the furnace, the windows, and the roof. For longer-term carbon reductions, they also include a shift to electric heating and cooling, notably via heat pumps. Such retrofits improve indoor air quality, even out temperatures, and reduce noise, but at $42,600 to $56,750, they cost more than most homeowners can afford.

“Simple steps deliver great bang for the buck, but if we’re serious about climate action, we need to do a lot more and make deep retrofits affordable and accessible to millions of homes,” says Jennifer Amann, the report’s lead author and a senior fellow in ACEEE’s buildings program. “The government needs to help scale these retrofits by subsidizing them, training contractors, and encouraging electrification.”

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