South Portland has an ambitious goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. Whether for cost savings or environmental reasons, a lot of South Portland residents are already installing air source heat pumps, purchasing electric vehicles, commuting to work via e-bike and cutting their lawns with electric mowers.

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The electric market is ripe, and we want everyone to get in on the action.

South Portland is excited to launch “Electrify Everything!” – a rebate program that will support residents in electrifying homes, transportation and lawncare equipment. Keep reading to learn more about this program, how it relates to climate change and how to get started.

South Portland’s Electrify Everything! program

The city of South Portland is providing rebates on electric vehicles, electric lawncare equipment, e-bikes, heating and cooling systems, and home weatherization. Through Electrify Everything!, you can get up to $2,000 per household in rebates on top of Efficiency Maine and other rebates.

The program is for South Portland residents with a household income up to 100 percent of area median income (e.g. less than $111,700 for a family of four).

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Electrification and climate change

What are the benefits of electrifying? Electric equipment is far more efficient than fossil fuel-based equipment. For example, air-source heat pumps are over 100 percent more efficient than traditional combustion-based systems and also provide cooling.

In addition, electric vehicles cost 50 percent less per mile to charge than filling up a gasoline-powered car and require very little maintenance. By transitioning to more efficient electric technologies, you will save on your energy bills and transportation costs. With heating fuel and gasoline prices at record highs, this will amount to immediate and significant savings.

While the upfront costs of purchasing this equipment can be daunting, they do not have to be barriers. Efficiency Maine offers a variety of home energy loans and Electrify Everything! aims to further alleviate upfront costs, creating an opportunity for low- and moderate-income South Portlanders to make sustainable choices and start saving money.

Electrify Everything! will also help us reach our climate goals.

In South Portland, 19 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from residential buildings, and 32 percent come from transportation. As it stands, traditional home heating systems and vehicles that burn petroleum products emit a number of air pollutants such as carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone that contribute to both global climate change and localized air pollution.

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When paired with an electric grid that is increasingly run on renewables, electric home heating systems and vehicles will help make South Portland carbon free. Every South Portland resident that transitions away from fossil fuels will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, capitulating us toward reaching our climate goals.

Get started

Electrify Everything! is now live. Our website has all the program details. Visit http://southportland.org/electrify to learn more about the program, see the current rebates, and apply.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments resilience corps fellow serving in the Sustainability Office. She can be reached at [email protected]

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