Available Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Design

by Dean Dalvit on February 20, 2009

We’ve all been hearing about the economic stimulus package and how the global economy will improve as a result, but most of us want to know how it will directly affect our pocketbooks. Well, there’s good news for those of you who are planning for new or remodel projects in 2009…

There were $17 billion in energy tax incentives enacted last October that were largely associated with solar equipment for electricity and hot water. Congress also extended a credit for installing energy efficient windows and skylights. There are also now tax credits for home wind power, geothermal systems and more, creating a strong incentive to move forward with your next big project.

In 2008, there was a $2,000 cap on the installation of solar equipment for the home. For 2009, that cap is removed and now homeowners can claim up to 30% of the installation cost as a tax credit (not a deduction, but a dollar-for-dollar credit). Bear in mind that there are also state credits available, so check out http://www.dsireusa.org for a state-by-state listing of these available credits. The federal credit may apply only after deduction of state credits, so be aware and make sure to have your accountant file all applicable forms.

Congress has also added a new tax credit of up to $4,000 for home wind power systems and a $2,000 credit for new geothermal heating systems.

As of 2006, congress had brought back a law allowing a $500 per filer lifetime credit for energy efficient home improvements. This can be anything from upgraded insulation to improved doors and windows (but be aware that windows alone are limited to a $200 cap).

So, there is indeed good news for those of you embarking on new projects. I encourage anyone starting a new construction or remodel home improvement project to look into these programs and have your CPA involved early on so you can quantify how much you may get back at the end of the year for doing things you may very well already have been planning on doing.

As architects, it is ever important to keep an eye on these constantly evolving programs as well. We can help to practically integrate these systems into the design of any project. There are similar incentives for commercial projects as well. If you are thinking about starting a new project, give us a call and let’s see what may be available for you.


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Mandy August 4, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I think it is fantastic how the stimulus funds are making a difference. They are being taken advantage of all the time with the installation of geothermal heat pumps to replace high energy heating and cooling systems.

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