June 10, 2010 – Vol.15 No.12
ENERGY EFFICIENCY TAX CREDIT SET TO EXPIRE.
by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News
The folks at energy-efficient replacement window maker Renewal by Anderson have sent a reminder: The US government’s Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of the year. Better act fast. Time moves quickly.
The tax credit for the installation of new high efficiency water heaters, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, central air conditioners, building Insulation, windows, doors, roofs, circulating fans used in a qualifying furnace, as well as some biomass stoves ends in a little over six months. But, realistically there’s about half that time to take advantage of the credit.
Building projects always take longer than expected. The efficiency installations have to be completed and paid for before the clock strikes midnight on December 31. A Renewal by Anderson representative noted that early October would be a better deadline for getting its windows ordered and date set for installation. Other efficiency upgrades may differ in lead times, but waiting to the last moment may mean missing the deadline. November or December would be a bad time to start thinking about the credit. Think ASAP.
The tax credit will cover no more than 30-percent of the cost of the upgrade and the $1500 credit is an aggregate amount. For example, 30 percent of the cost of installing a new water heater should be less than $1500 (far less than $1500, I would hope) so the remaining credit can be used elsewhere on other improvements. But a whole-house installation of new energy efficient windows could easily use up $1500 as 30 percent of the cost of the windows.
There are a few more restrictions other than the looming deadline. The efficiency upgrades can only be to existing homes. The home must be the principal residence. (New construction and rentals do not qualify). The product must meet efficiency standards set by the government. (Your dealer or contractor should know which products qualify and be sure to check the tax credit website.) For improvements to the building envelope, such as insulation, a new metal roof, new windows and doors, the credit DOES NOT cover installation costs. It covers products only. For mechanical upgrades the credit covers installation costs AND the product itself.
Homeowners should first determine where their greatest energy inefficiencies are. If it isn’t obvious, like drafty windows, they could consider an energy audit. Before a contract is signed they should look for the best combination of price, quality and reputation for both the product and installation. A talk with a tax advisor isn’t a bad idea either.
There are many products on the market that should qualify for the credit. Dealers, retailers and contractors should have some advice on which to chose.
Since Renewal by Anderson brought the tax credit expiration to my attention, they’ll get the plug.
Renewal by Anderson, itself 15 years old, is a division of Anderson Corporation which has been in the window business for more than 100 years. Longevity is a good sign in any business. A long history is a good indicator that the company will be around for a while. That means window parts, if necessary, will be available if needed in the future.
Structurally the windows are made of a wood fiber and plastic composite material the company calls Fibrex. It’s 40-percent recycled wood fiber by weight. In a showroom examination, the windows and doors seem nicely crafted. The windows are all custom made to a small fraction of an inch and come in a variety of styles. There are a number of color combinations to match a home’s outside trim and they come with an option for real wood interior surfaces in oak, maple or pine that can be stained to match existing trim.
In the conversation with the knowledgeable company representative I purposely didn’t ask for a price since I had nothing to compare it to. These windows are obviously a quality product and more than often good things come at a cost.
Of course the windows and available doors are eligible for the tax credit, which will help cut costs and there’s always the possibility of company sales and special offers: See your dealer.
Right now it doesn’t look like the credit will be renewed this year. But the spill in the Gulf of Mexico may change things. A continued uproar by the public into the summer may push energy legislation in the Fall, so it’s possible that the tax credit could get a new life. Still, don’t wait.
Renewal by Anderson
Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency
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