Green Home, Greener Wallet: Tax Incentives abound for energy-efficient homes

Tue, 08/11/2009 - 12:56pm
By: The Citizen

President of the Fayette County Board of Realtors

Thanks to Uncle Sam and some temporary tax credits, it pays right now to go green. Although a lot of attention has been paid to the $8,000 home buyer tax credit that was established earlier this year by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that legislation also established a number of tax breaks for current homeowners who want to improve their home’s energy efficiency.

The Residential Energy Property Credit increases the energy tax credit for homeowners who make certain energy-efficient improvements to their existing homes, in many cases giving the homeowner a credit of up to 30 percent of the cost of the project. Most of the improvements must be made from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010, but some projects will be eligible for a tax credit through 2016. According to Fayette County Board of Realtors President, Johnny Bolton, these additional tax breaks reinforce the value of going green.

“Realtors“ understand the long-term investment and savings associated with greener homes,” said Bolton. “As green building issues become more important to buyers, sellers and businesses, more and more Realtors“ are adding value to the real estate transaction by developing green business practices and educating themselves and their clients about the benefits of energy-efficient home and building features.”

Most energy-efficient improvements to existing homes now qualify for a tax credit of 30 percent of the project cost, up to $1,500. Exterior windows, skylights and doors with a qualifying U-Factor (which measures how well it insulates) and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (which measures how well it blocks heat caused by sunlight) are eligible, as are certain metal and asphalt roofs. In addition, the credit covers installation costs for HVAC, gas, oil and propane water heaters and biomass stoves.

The deal gets even sweeter for owners who enhance their home with geothermal heat pumps, solar energy systems or small wind energy systems. They qualify for 30 percent of the entire cost – including installation – and the credit doesn’t expire until December 31, 2016.
There are no upper or lower income limits on energy efficient tax credits. For detailed information about all eligible projects, visit

According to Bolton, this is an opportunity homeowners looking into “greening” their houses should consider.
“Realtors know what features add value to a home, and many of today’s consumers want homes that are sensitive to the larger environment,” Bolton said. “This isn’t just a fad. Energy efficiency and the cost savings that come along with it will never go out of style.”

The Fayette County Board of Realtors is one of more than 1,600 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. As the nation’s largest trade association, NAR is “The Voice for Real Estate,” representing more than 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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