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NPR Marketplace: New tax incentives ease home improvements to beat the heat

July 21, 2023

As Americans in the South face an extreme heat wave, cranked-up air conditioners are breaking records for electricity usage and testing the power grid in Texas. Amid the blistering heat, home improvements — like installing heat pumps or adding insulation — are key to reducing the energy used to keep homes cool.

And this summer, the government is making billions of dollars available for homeowners to make these changes.

One way to think about home weatherization is to think about lunch — would you rather carry it in a cooler or a paper bag?

“If you bring it in just a paper bag, it’s going to be warm by lunchtime,” said Kara Saul-Rinaldi, chief policy officer of the Building Performance Association and CEO of AnnDyl Policy Group. She said insulation is kind of like turning your house into a cooler.

“If you have insulation and you air-sealed your house and it’s well insulated, that it may be able to maintain that temperature. You don’t have to keep cooling it over and over and over again,” Saul-Rinaldi said. But doing that isn’t cheap, which is where the expanded tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act come into play.

Click here to hear more on the Marketplace podcast.

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