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How much money can you save on home electrification projects? Colorado has a new tool to add up incentives

The blue flame on a gas stove.

Colorado residents have a new tool to estimate how much they could save on electric appliances like heat pumps and induction stoves by taking advantage of a growing number of financial incentives.

Gov. Jared Polis announced the new online calculator Friday at a Mitsubishi HVAC training center in Aurora alongside leaders for Rewiring America, an advocacy group promoting a strategy to fight climate change and improve air quality through “home electrification.”

The term refers to a broad movement to swap out fossil fuel-powered devices for all-electric alternatives, which can help cut climate-warming emissions by taking advantage of growing supplies of wind and solar energy. It is also a way to remove sources of indoor air pollution like gas stoves.

Those advantages have led state and local governments to offer a wide range of discounts on the devices, but it’s often difficult to navigate the full spectrum of programs. The slow rollout of consumer rebates offered by the Inflation Reduction Act — President Joe Biden’s signature health care and climate law — has only added to the confusion.

The new online calculator is designed to add clarity. It asks residents to enter basic information like their zip code, electric utility and tax filing status, then generates a list of potential savings programs.

Take an air-source heat pump. The energy-efficient electric devices can replace air conditioners and gas furnaces in many homes, making them a critical tool to fight climate change and guard against rising temperatures.

The one major downside is the upfront cost. A recent report from Rewiring America found the average installation price for an air source heat pump tends to fall between $12,000 and $20,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home. The nonprofit relied on data from states other than Colorado to compile the estimate, but it offers a ballpark picture of the steep price point.

The calculator shows Colorado residents have a range of options to offset the price tag. Xcel Energy, for example, offers a $2,200 credit toward future electric bills if a customer buys a cold-climate heat pump. Denver will pay up to 40 percent of the cost up to $1,500.

Rewiring America created the calculator with help from Google.org, the charitable arm of the multinational technology company. The partnership developed a similar tool for Rhode Island residents last year. Colorado is only the second state with its own calculator.

To read more stories from Colorado Public Radio, visit www.cpr.org.