Because of general bipartisan support for energy-efficient housing options, recent government legislation has extended the Energy efficient homes tax credit through the end of 2013. Both builders constructing energy efficient homes and homeowners who make home improvements and purchase qualified energy-efficient appliances can benefit from this Federal tax credit of up to $2,000 for the 2013 tax year.
Builders can take advantage of this credit by proving that the amount of energy consumed by the AC and heating systems in their newly constructed homes is at least 50 percent reduced from that of similar homes built before 2006. Special construction techniques and materials, high-quality insulation, energy-efficient furnaces and heat pumps will help builders to achieve this goal.
Individual homeowners who want to participate in energy tax credits can do so by making home improvements in the insulation, heating systems, and construction of their existing primary residences, and/or by purchasing and installing new Energy Star certified large home appliances which are designed to utilize far less electricity than older models. To qualify for the energy tax credit, the expectation is that all installed equipment claimed for the credit will remain in the primary home for at least five years.
A wide range of home improvements could qualify for energy credits:
· Insulated exterior doors and storm windows
· High-efficiency air-circulation fans
· Geothermal heat pumps
· Insulated skylights
· Asphalt roofs designed to keep temperatures steady with special cooling granules
· High-efficiency air-conditioning and heating systems
· New insulation in walls and ceilings
· Energy-Star stoves, water heaters, and washer/dryers.
There are a number of companies that will provide energy audit services for homeowners interested in finding ways to reduce their energy consumption. Many electricity providers may also provide these services for free or for a reduced fee for low-income customers.
As our economy struggles to recover from the recent recession, it is necessary for homeowners and tax payers to try to save money in any way they can. Not only can improving a home’s energy efficiency help to save money in the long run, but many tax credits can be a great help in achieving a lump sum savings as well.