ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
In 1992, the EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to additional office equipment products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy for particular product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics and more. EPA has also extended the label to cover new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.
On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008". The bill extended tax credits for energy efficient home improvements (windows, doors, roofs, insulation, HVAC and non-solar water heaters). Tax credits for these residential products, which had expired in 2007, would be available for improvements made during 2009. Improvements made during 2008, however, were not eligible for a tax credit.
The tax credit for solar water heaters and solar panels, which remained in effect for 2008 has been extended until 2016. If you are building a new home, you do not qualify for the tax credits for "eligible building envelope components" (windows, doors, insulation, roofs) or "qualified energy property" (HVAC and non-solar water heaters). However the tax credit for photovoltaics, solar water heating and fuel cells is available for homeowners building new homes.
Not all ENERGY STAR qualified homes and products qualify for a tax credit. Be sure to check www.energystar.gov to see if your home or product qualify.