Posts Tagged ‘$1500 tax credit’

Last Call for $1,500 home efficiency tax credits.

December 11, 2010

The final two weeks:  The $1,500 federal energy efficiency tax credits expire on December 31st 2010.  Need a new furnace?   Insulation?  This credit is likely to disappear, and to be eligible, qualifying equipent has to be installed by December 31, 2010.  The tax credits offer up to 30%/$1,500 back on qualifying measures.   That can be 1/3 off the price of a hgih-efficiency furnace with an efficient motor to save you not just gas, but electricity.   You’re not likely to find a better time to get a new furnace in particular, so now is the time to act to avoid missing this opportunity.


Home Retrofit is a Great Way to Add Value to Your Home

October 4, 2010

As a green real estate agent with my EcoBroker Certification, I hear a lot of buzz about green homes. But if you are like most Americans, buying a new home, let alone a green-built new home is not in the cards for you.  That’s why I think a home retrofit – an energy efficiency makeover – is such an important real estate tool.

A retrofit is important today, at tax time and in the future when you go to sell your home

Today a retrofit is important because it will cure what ails you.  Whether you have hit GreenHome’s website because you want to save money on your energy bills, stop that annoying little draft in the baby’s room or help the planet, a home retrofit can help.  Best is the saving money part. Other home remodeling projects like an updated kitchen won’t love you back with money-savings every month the way a home retrofit will!

If you act by December 31st, your retrofit will pay off at tax time too.  You may be able to claim a 30% credit for many of the materials you have installed as part of your retrofit.  It’s a great opportunity to see a payback even sooner on your improvements! 

Studies are starting to emerge that show the value of energy-savings in a home at resaleOne early study shows that home buyers are willing to pay up to $5000 more for a home with good energy efficiency improvements.  Buyers know they will save while they live in a home like that and are willing pay a bit more for that benefit upfront.  Be sure to share before and after utility bills with your real estate agents so you can showcase your home’s utility savings when it is time for you to move.

When you look at all the figures, the numbers add up nicely!  Today, the typical retrofit saves an American family between 10-30% on their energy bills.  At tax time, the tax credit could help you with a $1,500 maximum discount on improvements completed in 2010.  That means a $5,000 project would cost you only $3,500.  In the future, trends are saying a buyer might be willing to spend up to $5,000 more for an efficient home like yours.  When is the last time you came out $1,500 ahead for something that saves you money and makes you cozier every day?

Laura Reedy Stukel is an EcoBroker Certified real estate agent and nationally recognized consultant, writer and speaker on home energy efficiency.  She is a market transformation expert, focused at accelerating home retrofits at key real estate leverage points.  Her work is unique, focused on energy efficiency projects fueled by the power of consumer choiceSM.

Winter is creeping up on us, are you ready?

September 17, 2010

Last time I wrote that having a little foresight can go a long way when it comes to energy efficiency, so now let me elaborate… Winter is just around the corner, are you ready for it?

Even if you live in the sunny paradise that is California (sorry everyone else, you know it’s true), there are still many ways you need to prepare for winter so that the energy bills don’t break the bank.

There are literally hundreds of ways your house can leak heat and cause you headaches, so for most of us the way to put your best foot forward coming into winter is by having a comprehensive energy audit performed on your home. Sounds expensive huh? Actually, not really. Typically the audit pays for itself in savings quickly–assuming you actually follow through is some of the recommendations, of course!

And don’t forget your rebates!

The Federal tax credit program for home energy efficiency improvements expires on December 31, so make sure to take care of those nagging problems and upgrades you’ve been meaning to make while Uncle Sam will help foot the bill.

There are a multitude of products and services that are eligible for the rebate of 30% of your costs, up to $1,500, but the work must be completed by Dec 31, 2010. Visit our summary of the program to learn what is covered under the program.

California Appliance Rebates Now Apply to HVAC–Limited Time Only

August 23, 2010

The good news:  
There are still over sixteen million dollars available in rebates for eligible, energy efficient appliances in California’s Cash for Appliances program. 
The better news: 
The program recently expanded to include water heaters and HVAC systems with up to $1,000 in rebates (and remember the $1,500 federal tax credit is still available through December). 
The best news: 
GreenHomes America has several branches in California, and together with trusted partners ABC Cooling and Heating, and ASI Hastings Heating and Air we can help find the right solution for you throughout California. 
The Cash for Appliance rules specifically state that consumers must work with a licensed California contractor to install water heaters and HVAC systems to be eligible for the rebate. Make sure you choose wisely.  And act quickly—this is first come, first-served—the program ends when the money is gone.  We’re getting good response, and at this rate it will end soon.

Keeping Cool this Summer

May 25, 2010

More on keeping cool since full on summer is hitting a bit early in the Northeast.  Hot and humid.  It’s a good time to revisit the cooling tips (hint:  do NOT buy a Cool Surge air warmer…er, “cooler”, unless you harvested ice out of the pond over the winter and you’re storing it in an ice shed).

Roof killers—icicles and ice damming

November 18, 2009

I touched on insulation and air-sealing in a few recent posts. And as happens in the winter, we’ve noticed a big increase in the last few weeks on people asking about icicles and ice damming. It’s probably time for a quick refresh and retread of an earlier post.

What is Ice Damming?
Big icicles and ice dams are typically caused by poor or missing insulation and air leakage from your house into your attic.  In the winter, this warms the roof and causes the snow to melt. The melting snow then moves down the roof slope until it reaches the cold overhang, where it refreezes.

The process forms icicles and can actually create a dam that eventually forces the water to back up under the shingles and sometimes into the ceiling or wall inside the home. In addition to roof and water damage, ice dams can cause structural decay and mold and mildew to form in attics and on wall surfaces. 

Big icicles are a good sign of too much heat loss through your attic.

Big icicles themselves, like those shown here, are obvious signs that you’re at risk.

But snow melt patterns can also indicate a problem of too much heat loss. In this photo below, you can see snow melting off the roof at different rates, driven by heat loss from the house. 

roof snow melt patterns

Uneven snow melt also is a sign that something is awry

And in the townhouse complex below you can see the building that GreenHomes treated with even snow still on the roof—a sign the building isn’t losing energy rapidly. Conversely, you see the untreated building with the snow melted–a sign that it’s losing a lot of energy. No big icicles this time—but had it been a bit colder, the melting snow would have refrozen at the eaves and created big problems.
treated townhouse retains heat
The townhome treated by GreenHomes loses heat more slowly through the attic and thus snow melts slowly and doesn’t accumulate as ice out at the eaves.


a leaky and poorly insulation town home attic melts snow quicly

This town home has not been treated and the wasted heat melts snow quickly. In the right temperatures, the melted snow would refreeze and create ice problems--bad news. And in any event, this folks in this building are spending a lot more on energy than they should.

The Fix
Fortunately, you can dramatically reduce damage from ice damming by sealing the holes connecting your heated living space and the attic, as well as properly insulating your attic. There are different techniques to stop air leaking through recessed lights, leaky heating ducts, attic access doors, and plumbing and electrical penetrations. Sealing these leaks keeps warm air in your house were it belongs. Together, with adequate levels of insulation, this greatly reduces the chance of ice damming and large icicles.  You do NOT just want to add more insulation before sealing the air leaks—this can actually create additional problems that can also damage your roof. 

It’s important to not that you can’t eliminate icicles completely.  Small icicles are normal.  And some roof architecture–especially big valleys draining to a small corner–are especially challenging.  But if you have long icicles or thick heavy ice you should act quickly to prevent damage.  (And this means preventing the ice from forming in the first place, not risk life, limb, and your roof trying to chip off ice that’s there.)
 Do it right.  Find the important leakage points and seal them up.  Then add a lot of insulation.  And afterwards, as with any time you change the way your house works, have your combustion appliances tested to make sure they’re operating safely and efficiently.

An added benefit to this, of course, is you’ll save energy, save money, and be more comfortable in your home, too!

Save the ice for your holiday cocktails!

[Update, see more roof melt and icicle photos.]


P.S.  The added insulation can qualify for the $1,500 federal credit.  Save money while you save you roof!

New Home Buyers–Turn $6,500 to $8,000

November 11, 2009

Here’s great idea from, Laura Reedy Stukel, an enlightend real estate agent in suburban Chicago.  New home buyers can parlay the new homebuyer tax credit into energy-efficiency improvements, and squeeze out up to an addtional $1,500 in home improvement tax credits–and gain a more comfortable and energy-efficient home in the process.


Winter Savings and Federal Tax Credits

October 18, 2009
Draft Form 5695 is available

Draft Form 5695 is available

In addition to the questions on winter energy savings which are starting to pour in, we’re still getting a lot of questions on the federal tax credits for energy-efficiency improvements.   We’ve provided answers to some of the common questions and a summary of the credits on the GreenHomes website.  The IRS still hasn’t issued the final form, but the draft of IRS 2009 Form 5695 for “Residential Energy Credits” is still availabe.


Dense Packed Cellulose Insulation

August 17, 2009

In existing homes, where wall cavities are closed up with siding on the outside, and drywall, plaster, or some other finish on the inside, good insulation becomes problematic.  How do you fill the whole cavity when the cavitiy is already closed?

A great way is with “dense packed” cellulose insulation.  Cellulose insulation is essentially ground up paper (e.g., newspaper) with fire retardants added.  We like 100% borate retardant–low toxicity and critters don’t like it.  

Dense packed cellulose stays in place even if drywall is later pulled down (we don't recommend pulling the drywall down to check, though!)

Dense packed cellulose stays in place even if drywall is later pulled down (we don't recommend pulling the drywall down to check, though!)

In yesteryear, cellulose was essentially poured (loosely blow) into wall cavities.  The challange with this was that the cellulose settled over time, leaving a gap with no insulation at the top.  Dense packing overcomes this and is a great way to insulate walls in existing homes.  First, the loose fill insulation fill nooks and crannies and does a great job filling cavities, providing the type of coverage you need for insulation to be effective.  Second, dense packing actually pumps insulation into a cavity a higher density than it would settle to.  Thus, over time we don’t see additional settling.  In fact, the insulation is in there so tight, it generally doesn’t fall out even when you take the wall covering down.  In the picture, you see the wall I just removed this weekend as part of a major bathroom remodel.   And you see how the cellulose completely filled the wall cavity (less a few holes from my hammer as a pulled the plasterboard down).  And the insulation is packed so well, that is stays in place even without the plasterboard covering it.  [Good job, Tom, Joe, and Jason.]

Good stuff.  Works great!  A practical solution for those wanting to make their homes more efficient.  (I’m still amazed how many homes have little or no insulation in their walls.)  And this insulation qualifies for the $1,500 tax credit currently avaiable for energy-efficiency retrofits.


GreenHomes is Hiring

July 26, 2009

Please pardon the ad, but I thought this might be of interest to you or someone you know.  Although the economy hasn’t bounced back completely yet, a lot of people are recognizing the importance of and value of improving their homes.   The $1500 federal tax credits for insulation, furnaces, air-conditioners, windows, and more certainly help.  And from an ROI perspective, investing in energy-efficiency can be one of the best investments to make right now.

As such, GreenHomes is busier than ever and accepting applications in Syracuse, Princeton, Northern New Jersey, and LA and Ventura counties in California.   Additional locations coming soon.  We’re looking for Advisors, Shell Technicans, HVAC Technicians, Certified Solar Installers, and more.   This is a great place for someone who likes the idea of more homes safer, more comfortable, and more energy-efficient, and who is looking to play a role in the country’s clean energy future.   See  GreenHomes for more info.

GreenHomes is Hiring!

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