How Bentley Johnson upgraded his home to save money on energy bills

How Bentley Johnson upgraded his home to save money on energy bills

Two years ago, Bentley Johnson was sitting across the kitchen table from his wife, going over their monthly energy bills. Since purchasing his home in 2018, Bentley’s energy bills had been going up, his air conditioner broke down, and the furnace and water heater were on their last legs. Knowing these critical appliances needed to be replaced, Bentley and his wife were also thinking about what they could do to secure a healthy, sustainable future for their two kids as the climate crisis continues to accelerate. 


Michigan LCV's Bentley Johnson with his wife, son, and daughter standing in front of cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.

Michigan LCV Federal Government Affairs Director Bentley Johnson and his family. 

As federal government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Bentley knew about President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which was passed in 2022 to provide funding for home upgrades to reduce energy usage and address climate change. Bentley and his wife were always energy-conscious – turning off lights and trying to save energy where they could – but they always wanted to do more. With funding available through the Inflation Reduction Act, they saw a real opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint, replace their outdated, broken home appliances, and save some money in the process. 

It all started when they decided to do a home energy assessment, sort of like taking your home to the doctor for an annual physical to see how things are going and what changes could be made. Bentley chose a local provider called Ecotelligent and the company sent an inspector out to perform a home energy assessment. The inspector looked through their home, took measurements, and evaluated which home appliances were wasting the most energy. 

Ecotelligent’s home energy assessment provided a roadmap for what upgrades were available to maximize efficiency, how much they would cost, and what funding incentives could help pay for it. The inspection found that by replacing outdated insulation, Bentley could maximize energy efficiency while protecting the health of his family and saving big time on energy bills. Ecotelligent insulated the attic and rim joists to improve thermal efficiency and thanks to the IRA’s tax credit opportunities, Bentley was able to save money in the process. 


After the energy efficiency upgrades, next came the task of choosing contractors to replace the failing heating and cooling systems. Thanks to Ann Arbor’s A2Zero clean energy program and Michigan Saves, Bentley found local union contractors knowledgeable about electrification and secured a low-interest loan from a local credit union to cover the upfront costs.  

A photo of the new electrical panel Bentley installed in his home to help with energy savings and greater efficiency.


Vedder Electric helped with electrical upgrades by installing a new electrical panel and adding another panel to control the home’s temperature. 

Bentley's updated hot water heater, which has helped lower energy costs in his home.

Bentley's new heating and cooling panel that has helped with energy savings.

Haley Mechanical helped with Bentley’s heating and cooling upgrades, replacing his furnace, broken air conditioner, and outdated water heater. 

A photo of the new smart WiFi thermostat, which allows Bentley and his family to efficiently achieve climate control and increase energy savings.

With the help of Haley Mechanical’s electrification experts, Bentley also installed an air source heat pump (with a backup electric heater) to upgrade his home’s forced air system, added a heat pump water heater, a smart WiFi thermostat, and installed an air purification system and home surge protector. 

A photo of Bentley's back yard, where he buried electrical cables with the help of DTE Energy to increase reliability and safety.

Finally, Bentley installed efficient appliances like a portable induction cooktop and a new washer and worked with DTE Energy to bury an overhead power line, making his home safer, more energy efficient, and reliable. He was able to do it all on budget thanks to the IRA’s home energy tax credits available to all Michiganders!

Thanks to IRA funding, Home Energy Rebates are expected to roll out across all 50 states this fall. With even more money on the table for low-income Michiganders to make home energy upgrades, these types of projects are getting more affordable for more people across the Great Lakes state. 

A photo of Bentley's energy savings data after his home upgrades.

A photo of Bentley's energy efficiency data after making home upgrades.

Bentley’s efforts have already paid off over just a few short months. Thanks to insulating and electrifying most of his home, Bentley and his family are seeing much better home efficiency performance, lower energy use, and smaller energy bills. By decreasing his energy usage and installing new appliances, his home is also now more comfortable, quieter, and safer. Bentley’s journey shows the real benefits of using federal incentives from the IRA, offering a practical path to sustainable living and lower energy costs.

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