Last summer, many of us in New Jersey found ourselves retreating indoors as the skies filled with smoke from the Canadian wildfires. This smoke carried particulate matter (PM 2.5), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and a whole host of other pollutants that are harmful to our health. Even though the smoke dissipated, millions of New Jersey residents continue to breathe in unhealthy outdoor air.

A new piece of legislation introduced by state Sens. Bob Smith and Andrew Zwicker would finally make a dent in this health-harming pollution by helping our most vulnerable community members receive a relatively new yet proven home upgrade: heat pumps.

The fossil fuel HVAC systems we use to heat our homes are also driving up energy bills across New Jersey. According to a recent report by the Acadia Center, year after year, New Jerseyans who switch from gas to highly efficient heat pumps can save money in every utility territory. If households couple this investment with weatherization and improved energy efficiency, customers save as much as 69% on their annual energy bills. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released similar findings earlier this year, concluding that between 62% and 95% of households nationwide would see a drop in their energy bills by using a heat pump.

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