Choosing electricity as a fuel for buildings, vehicles and tools can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants that are harmful to both people and the planet. Learn more about electric options for landscaping tools and home heating below. Learn more about electric vehicles on the "Shift your ride" page.
The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) directs $500 billion towards accelerating clean energy investments and reducing carbon emissions, in addition to other healthcare and tax investments. The suite of buildings-related rebates and incentives under the IRA will support electrification and efficiency, with a special focus on low-income households. Households will be able to take advantage of a range of upfront rebates and tax credits towards energy efficient electric appliances and energy efficiency improvements in their homes.
Tax credits are available now and rebates are coming soon!
Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit: If you make qualified energy-efficient improvements to your home after Jan. 1, 2023, you may qualify for a tax credit up to $3,200. You can claim the credit for improvements made through 2032.
Residential Clean Energy Credit: If you invest in renewable energy for your home such as solar, wind, geothermal, fuel cells or battery storage technology, you may qualify for an annual residential clean energy tax credit.
Credits for New Clean Vehicles Purchased in 2023 or After: If you place in service a new plug-in electric vehicle (EV) or fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in 2023 or after, you may qualify for a clean vehicle tax credit. Find information on credits for used clean vehicles, qualified commercial clean vehicles, and new plug-in EVs purchased before 2023.
Future rebates: The High Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA), includes $4.5 billion in direct rebates for low- and moderate-income households that install new, efficient electric appliances.
The State Energy Office will receive federal funding to develop a new high efficiency electric home rebate program. This new program will allow rebates at the point of sale for income-eligible consumers on a range of highly efficient electric equipment and electrification projects, including:
- Heat pumps for space and water heating
- Heat pump dryers
- Electric stoves, cooktop range, or oven (includes induction)
- Electric load service center upgrade
- Insulation, air sealing, and ventilation
- Electric wiring
Current Status: The DOE is expected to release funds to states in late 2023 or early 2024. Rebates are expected to be available in 2024. Commerce expects to combine this funding with additional funding allocated by the state legislature for the 2023-2025 biennium. Learn more.
Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners for all climates. Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. Heat pumps transfer heat using a compressor, an expansion valve, and a refrigerant. Much like how a refrigerator uses a compressor and a refrigerant to cool the inside of your refrigerator or freezer, a heat pump uses the same process but in reverse for your building.
Because they transfer heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can efficiently provide comfortable temperatures for your home. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.
Heat pumps are powered by electricity and come in two primary varieties: ductless (aka a mini-split heat pump) and ducted (aka central, forced air) systems.
Comparing Ductless and Ducted Heat Pumps
A ductless heat pump does not require the use of air ducts to distribute air. Ductless systems consist of an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor heads in common living areas. Indoor heads are typically mounted high on a wall and each one can be controlled independently by remote control. Ductless systems are up to three times more efficient than baseboard, wall heat, or electric furnaces. Ductless systems can save 25-50% in heating costs over traditional electric heating systems.
Ducted heat pump systems are similar, but the indoor unit is attached to an air handler that forces the hot air through your central duct system. They are controlled with a thermostat. Ducted systems have variable efficiency depending on the quality and efficiency of your current duct system.
Choosing Between a Ductless or Ducted Heat Pump System
Ductless heat pumps are typically a great upgrade for homes with electric baseboard heating, radiant heating, propane or wood stove heating, leaky ducts, or uneven heating. A ducted system may be better for your home if you want to use your existing furnace system or plan to replace an existing ducted heat pump. An installer will be able to provide the most informed solution for your home based on your energy goals, home size, room configuration and more.
Incentives for Heat Pumps
Installing a heat pump can easily cost $10,000 (for ductless systems) or $30,000 (for ducted systems).
A 30% federal tax credit is available through the Inflation Reduction Act for energy efficiency and electrification projects. This can save you up to $2,000, if you pay federal income tax.
Puget Sound Energy offers rebates for ductless heat pumps for customers to upgrade from another electric heating system (excluding existing heat pumps). Standard rebates are $800 for a single-family home. There are also incentives available for manufactured homes ($2,400) and income-qualified customers ($2,400) through PSE’s Efficiency Boost program.
Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment can contribute significantly to local and regional air pollution, with negative impacts for both people and our environment. There are many kinds of zero-emission lawn and garden equipment available. The type you need depends on the size and kind of lawn and garden you have, as well as how much time you want to spend working on your lawn. For small grass areas, a manual reel or corded electric mower can be sufficient. For larger yards, more powerful battery powered mowers are available. Similar choices exist in all categories of lawn and garden equipment, including string trimmers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws and leaf blowers.
Consumer Reports and Popular Mechanics have reviews of many types of zero-emission lawn and garden equipment. The California Air Resources Board also provides information on electric equipment. Visit their website for more information about zero emission cordless and corded leaf blowers, mowers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers and string trimmers.
Lawn tools with a two-stroke engine can spew 20 to nearly 300 times the emissions of a car.
Consider this: Running a commercial gas-powered leaf blower for just an hour produces about as much pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry 1,100 miles, according to the California Air Resources Board.
Source: Simon Mui/Natural Resources Defense Council.
Did you know?
- Converting to electric equipment can eliminate the emissions from lawn and garden equipment and improve both local and regional air quality. This would reduce the occurrence of asthma, cardiovascular disease and premature death caused by air pollution.
- Electric options tend to have better safety features and don’t require storing gasoline nearby, eliminating a potential fire hazard.
- An electric push mower or weed whacker is about as loud as a hair dryer. Keeping the noise down is good for operators of this equipment, and for nearby neighbors and wildlife.
- There are many options available for electric lawn and garden equipment. You can also look for landscapers and lawn maintenance companies that use all electric equipment.
The City has transitioned to zero emission tools!
As part of the 2018 greenhouse gas emissions inventory, the City recorded close to 6,500 gallons of fuel consumption per year for the use of gas-powered equipment used for vegetation management, accounting for about 3% of the City's overall emissions. In January 2022, the City ordered two zero emission, electric leaf blowers, which finally arrived in early 2023 for a pilot test in City operations. A full transition to electric leaf blowers, string trimmers, hedge clippers, pole saws, and lawn edgers was completed by the City in May 2023, with electric chainsaws currently on backorder.
The City is also exploring the potential for an ordinance requiring a transition to zero emission electric landscaping tools in the broader community. A draft equity lens tool was developed by City staff in 2022 and reviewed with both the Racial Equity Advisory Committee and the Climate Change Advisory Committee with respect to a future ordinance. A subgroup of the Climate Change Advisory Committee is currently working on an outline for potential elements to include in an ordinance, with an associated public education and outreach plan, for presentation to the City Council later this year.