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Mitsubishi Electric Trane Predicts Green Living Trends

Oct. 20, 2023
Here are the five hottest green living trends homeowners are adopting in 2023.

As we leave the record-breaking summer sizzle behind, the preparations for winter are heating up. Green living trends are also heating up as homeowners respond to rising energy bills and government incentives designed to slow down carbon emissions. 

Approximately 82% of homeowners report having some level of concern with their utility bills, according to the 2023 Heat Pumps and Homeowners Index conducted by Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS). Nearly half (46%) say the cost to cool their homes rose last summer. 

How are homeowners staying cool and conserving energy without breaking the bank? Here are the five hottest green living trends homeowners are adopting in 2023. 

1. Smart Tech Gets Smarter 

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to explode to 15 million-plus connected devices worldwide in 2023, smart technology is finding its way into air fryers, toilets, refrigerators and everything in between. Consumers can even use smart technology to better manage their home energy consumption. 

The popularity of smart thermostats is booming, with about half (49%) of US homeowners saying they own one. Wireless devices allow homeowners to remotely control their home’s temperatures from any location. Even when remote, users can tap into smart tech to better control their HVAC system so energy is not being wasted on a vacant house. People coming back from vacation, for example, can kick up or turn down their home temperature when an hour away, so the temperature is optimal upon arrival. 

Consumers are also investing in smart electrical panels like SPAN to control and monitor every circuit in their homes from their mobile devices. These modern energy-management systems help homeowners understand their home’s real-time energy sourcing, storage and usage. If an appliance is using more energy than it should and is about to break down, SPAN’s AI will inform homeowners so they can get it serviced or replaced.

2. The Heat Pump Revolution Heats Up 

According to METUS, 64% of homeowners say they have little knowledge of heat pumps.  Still, heat pumps managed to surpass traditional furnaces in sales last year for the first time thanks to their improved capabilities and accelerated adoption. 

All-electric heat pumps heat and air-condition homes efficiently and effectively. New technology makes them an energy-efficient option, regardless of climate. In fact, all-climate heat pumps keep homes comfortable all year long, even when it’s below zero outside. 

Modern heat pumps are an excellent electric alternative for homeowners looking to decrease their reliance on fossil fuel-powered systems. Experts predict heat pumps could reduce global CO2 emissions by half a gigaton by the end of this decade.

3. IRA Upgrades

Through the IRA, the US government will funnel billions of dollars in rebates and tax credits to supercharge the country’s movement toward electrification. This landmark legislation incentivizes environmentally friendly home upgrades while eliminating some of the financial barriers for lower-income homeowners.

For example, through the High Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program (HEEHRP), households making up to 80% of local median income may be eligible to receive a 100% rebate of up to $8,000 on the cost of a qualifying heat pump installation. Significant extension and expansion of the Energy-Efficient Home Improvement Tax Credit (25C), also part of the IRA, allows qualified households to deduct 30% of the costs for buying and installing a qualified heat pump, up to $2,000 annually through 2032.

Under the IRA’s HOMES Rebate Program, single and multifamily homes with a:

  • 20% energy reduction can get a $2,000 maximum rebate or half the cost of a retrofit project – whichever is less.
  • 35% energy reduction are eligible to collect a $4,000 maximum rebate.
  • 35% energy reduction and qualifying as lower income—less than 80% of local median income—can receive an $8,000 max rebate.

About 57% of homeowners say IRA incentives for upgrading to high-efficient HVAC systems interest them the most, according to the 2023 Heat Pump & Homeowners Index, powered by METUS (Study). More information on IRA incentives can be found here. 

4. Renewable Energy Generation Revs Up 

The solar panel industry experienced a challenging start to the decade, tasked with supply chain and import issues. Still, solar panel installations increased by 34% in 2021, and Q2 of 2022 marked five quarters of consecutive growth. Just over 50% of homeowners say IRA incentives for installing solar panels interest them the most, according to the Study.

Some savvy homeowners are pairing energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems with solar panels since this “dynamic duo” helps them slash utility bills and reduce carbon emissions.

Monroe, Ga., homeowner and METUS CEO Mark Kuntz owns a two-story net-zero home that generates enough energy to offset usage thanks to solar panels, variable-capacity heat pumps and a heat pump water heater. Altogether, the solar and energy-efficient systems save the Kuntz family an average of $2,837 per year in energy costs. 

Approximately 1,100 miles northeast, Natalie and Tom Treat have also reduced their carbon footprint and slashed energy bills through home upgrades. Wanting a completely fossil fuel-free space, the couple outfitted their Salisbury, Mass., home with solar panels, LED lighting, nontoxic insulation and ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, including a ductless Mitsubishi Electric HVAC system. Even when temperatures are brutally cold, the Treat’s utility bill of $300 beats their neighbor’s of more than four times that amount—$1,300.

5. Say No to War, Say Yes to Zoning

The Study revealed about 71% of homeowners say they have “thermostat wars” in their homes. Finding just the right temperature setting to please everyone in the house can be difficult, especially for larger families. 

Home zoning systems that allow temperature settings to be adjusted space by space with individual controllers are helping some families find peace and comfort. Households without zoned HVAC have relied on inefficient solutions like window AC units or space heaters. Others simply endure uncomfortable hot and cold spots. Zoning systems allow for balanced comfort and help homeowners cut down energy bills while eliminating the need for supplementary equipment.

Advancing the Green Movement 

"There has never been a better time for homeowners to invest in their homes and simultaneously decrease their carbon footprint,” said Kuntz. “Between smart technology, all-climate heat pumps, renewable energy sources and other solutions, consumers have numerous choices for trimming their energy bills and getting money back from the government by making their homes more sustainable.”

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