Column: Electrify everything to reduce carbon footprint


Commentary by Jim Grimes

Have you ever wondered what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint? Quite a lot, it turns out. And it’s pretty simple – electrify everything.

According to the nonprofit Rewiring America, 42 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions come from decisions we make around the kitchen table. This includes the cars we drive, how we heat our homes and water, how we cook our food, how we dry our clothes and where our electricity comes from.

CIC COM 0425 CGI IRA column Jim Grimes

Why electrify everything? Because electric machines are generally much more efficient than their fossil fuel counterparts and, therefore, they generate less emissions. This is true even when the electricity is generated by fossil fuel-burning utilities. Plus, there is a bonus. As electric utilities transition to cleaner renewable energy, the contribution of greenhouse gases by electric machines will diminish over time, whereas emissions from their fossil fuel counterparts will not.

The key to jump-starting this electrifying process in the United States is the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law last year. Many of its provisions are already in effect. For example, the IRA provides tax credits for installing rooftop solar, replacing a gas furnace with an electric heat pump and replacing a gasoline powered car with an electric vehicle. For low and moderate-income households, who do not have adequate tax liability to offset a tax credit, sizable rebates at the point of sale will enable them to switch to all electric. Renters can benefit as well.

Rewiring America estimates the average American household will have $10,600 available to them in IRA benefits that they can use to electrify. Households that electrify everything could save up to $1,800 per year in energy costs. Those are big numbers.

In part two of this three-part series, I will outline more details about available IRA funds to reduce your household carbon footprint. For more information, visit

Jim Grimes is a Carmel Green Initiative board member.