Posts Tagged ‘energy tax credit’

Energy Tax Credits for 2013: Available again!

January 9, 2013

greenhomes evergy infographic

One good result from the end of the year fiscal cliff hanger is an extension of the residential energy tax credit.

If you haven’t used it in the past, all the way back to 2006, there is a $500 tax credit for material costs of certain energy efficiency measures done to your home.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act extended the tax credit through 2013, making it retroactive from January 1, 2012. This means last year counts as well.

10% of the cost of materials, such as insulation, exterior windows, and doors that meet Energy Star requirements, can be used. Credits for window expenses are limited, as are AC units and furnaces, so a combination of improvements will help maximize what you can get, just perfect for home performance work on your home.

Check out http://www.irs.gov/ for more information. Or see the entire American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 here. Ask us we can help!

Thanks,
Jason

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Taxes and Energy Efficiency

April 11, 2011

For those who’s spouses don’t care to hear  “honey, don’t badger me about the taxes anymore” keep in mind that late filers have another weekend to drag it out.

If you are using the extra few days and will be filing on the 18th, remember that there is a tax credit for energy efficiency measures that were made last year.  Our website provide details on the 2010 credit which incentivized high-efficiency furnaces, air-conditioners, insulation, windows, doors and other improvements.   

So if you didn’t get around to energy efficiency improvements in 2010, the good news for next year is that there will be a tax credit for this year too.  Before you start dancing and singing “everybody wang chung tonight“, keep in mind that the tax credit is smaller for 2011.

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.

Time running out on federal tax credit

September 16, 2010

A reminder that the available federal energy efficiency tax credits expire on December 31st 2010.  The tax credits offer up to 30%/$1,500 back on qualifying measures.  With all the partisan rancor in Congress right now, it’s unclear—I’d say unlikely—that Congress will be able to pass any extension of the credits.  Any qualifying work would need to be installed by December 31st to be eligible.  Now is the time to act to avoid missing this opportunity.

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).

Reminder: Don’t forget to claim any energy-efficiency home improvement tax credits

April 14, 2010

Many people scrambled to get qualifying improvements installed before the end of 2009 to be able to claim tax credits—don’t forget to claim the credits if you did!  It’s important to remember that ARRA extended these energy-efficiency home improvement tax credits through December 31, 2010.  And thus the $1,500 credit is still available for qualifying insulation, furnace and air-conditioner replacements, window and door replacement, and other measures.   We’ve got a good summary of measures that qualify and answers to some frequently asked questions on these federal tax credits for energy-efficiency improvements. See also IRS 2009 Form 5695 which includes instructions and requirements.

Thanks,
Mike

DC and the Mid-Atlantic Snow Leads to Roof Ice Problems

February 8, 2010

I just wrote about this in the Northeast several weeks ago.  And now, this weekend’s Mid-Atlantic snowpocalypse hammered the region around DC for hundreds of miles with two to three feet of snow.   Northern Virginia, DC, Baltimore, and further up the Atlantic seaboard are covered in a blanket of snow.   Snow on rooftops often leads to problems with icicles and ice damming, as we’ve discussed here before, but primarily for homes with air leakage into the attic and poor insulation. (Some will tout inadequate ventilation as the cause—but roof ventilation is often insufficient, it can make energy leakage worse, and it’s possible to solve this issue with no roof ventilation!).  The snow, while creating havoc, also provides an opportunity for homeowners to look for problems as shown with this series of photos from Vermont. 

Everyone in the region, good luck shoveling out.  Be safe.  And if you’re having ice issues now, think about upgrading insulation and air-sealing after you dig out and things get back to normal.  You’ll be more comfortable and save energy in the long run.  And remember, federal tax credits (and many local programs) can help you pay for the needed upgrades.

Thanks,
Mike

Icicles Follow-up

January 9, 2010

A few days ago, we showed pictures of various roofs with evidence of heat loss as demonstrated by strange snow melt patterns and icicles.  Now, a few days later, I wanted to show what’s going on with couple of the homes.

First, the best performing roof still shows a remarkably even snow melt pattern.  Remember, this roof assembly is well air-sealed and insulated to R-60.  We do see a few small icicles on the left side of the roof.  An important point is that it is impossible to completely eliminate icicles, even with a great insulation and air-sealing job.  Outside temperatures, sun, and even depth of snow (since snow itself provides some insulation value) all are factors.  You’ll also see a chuck of snow missing on the right.  This actually didn’t melt off.  A thin layer of melt water under  the snow actually caused a section of snow to slide off the metal portion of the roof this morning.

This second shot, shows another house from the earlier pictures.   This second house is on the same side of the street, facing the same direction, and just a couple hundred feet from the house shown above. Snow on the main part of the house continues to melt fairly quickly.  The snow at the eaves of the two gable ends–not directly above the attic–is more than twice as deep as over the house showing the the house is a big contributor to the melt.  The snow on the addition roof to the right is almost completely gone showing much higher heat loss from this part of the house–an issue that should have been much better addressed at the time of construction.

Again, you can’t completely eliminate heat loss or icicle formation.  But with proper  insulation and air-sealing you can greatly reduce the problem, save a lot of energy, and help your roof last longer.   A good energy audit can show you the way.  And energy-efficiency tax credits and state and utility incentives can often help pay for the improvements.

Read more about icicles, ice dams, and solutions on our website or in a varierty of posts on this blog.

Thanks,
Mike

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.]

Thanks,
Mike

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


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