With interest rates and inflation continuing to rise, many families are feeling their purchasing power slip. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the energy index alone increased 32.9% for the 12 months ending in July 2022, making monthly utility bills even that much higher over the past year.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient to help you keep more money in your pocket, no matter if you own or rent your home. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a free, downloadable guide on ways to reduce your energy costs and save.
From heating and cooling to appliances and electronics, Energy.gov outlines ways to improve your home through energy efficiency. There are also Do-It-Yourself tools such as the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor so you can get custom recommendations on your home improvements.
How much can you save? Here are some potential savings by project, from the Department of Energy:
- Fixing air leaks: Save 10%-20% on heating and cooling costs
- Insulating a hot water tank: Save 7%-16% on heating costs
- Adding a new HVAC System: See a 20% reduction in energy usage
- Purchasing ENERGY STAR® certified washers: Use 25% less energy and 33% less water
- Installing ENERGY STAR® certified thermostats: Save up to 8%
Tackle Bigger Projects
While smaller energy-saving changes such as adding new thermostats and blackout curtains are relatively low cost and provide immediate returns, other types of energy-efficient upgrades typically require more significant funds. Travis Credit Union offers two types of energy efficient loans that can help you make your home more energy efficient and generate more savings.
Unlike credit cards or home improvement store cards, our Eco-Friendly Loan has a low, fixed rate with terms up to 180 months. You can use it to buy ENERGY STAR appliances, dual pane windows, whole house fans and more.
Thinking about going solar? Travis is an approved lender for the State of California Go Green Home Energy Financing program. This program requires borrowers to use a state-approved contractor and be a PG&E customer to qualify.
Your solar savings will depend on your system and personal energy use. Small solar energy systems may be eligible for a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed in 2023. This tax credit expires in 2024, says the Energy Department. Please consult your tax advisor for details.
Travis Can Help
Making your home more energy efficient is one way to counter inflation. Learn about the many other ways that Travis Credit Union can save you money. Visit traviscu.org or visit a branch to explore how we help make financial freedom feel awesome.