Energy Audits, Home Performance Contracting, Green Building Certification

Federal Tax Credits

There is a Federal Tax Credit available for builders of energy efficient new homes. For a home to qualify for the credit, it must be built to consume at least 50% less energy for heating and cooling than a typical home. Currently, this credit is only available until the end of 2009. There has been legislation introduced by Senator Snowe (Expanding Building Efficiency Incentives Act of 2009) which amends the Internal Revenue Code to: 

(1) increase and extend for three years the new energy efficient home tax credit; 
(2) increase the rate of the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings; 
(3) allow a $200 tax credit through 2011 for the cost of a home energy rating; and 
(4) allow a $500 tax credit for the cost of training and certifying home performance auditors to conduct home energy ratings.

We strongly support this legislation, and encourage you to contact your Senator to ask them for their support.

David has written a letter to Senator Snowe endorsing this legislation (S.1637) and recommending language be added to ensure all high performance builders are eligible to take advantage of this tax incentive.

Dear Senator Snowe,

I am writing to thank you for your hard work on S.1637 - Expanding Building Efficiency Incentives Act of 2009.

I am an owner of Horizon Residential Energy Services Maine, LLC - located in South Portland. We certify residences for the Energy Star Homes program, LEED for Homes, and the NAHB Green Building Standard.

Many of the high performance green home projects that we have worked on have met the performance threshold necessary to qualify for the $2000 Energy Efficient Home Credit (2005 EPACT). This tax credit has been crucial to our business viability. Without this incentive, far fewer builders in Maine would follow through with performance testing and Energy Star certification. In many cases, we have worked with builders to go far beyond their original energy efficiency plans in order to achieve this credit. In Maine, there are no other incentives available for residential new construction - we can't afford to lose this one! I am happy that you have proposed the expansion of this tax credit in S.1637. It is very important to address owner/builders, and reward them for achieving a high level of energy efficiency. And $5000 for 50% whole house energy reduction is a substantial reward for a difficult to reach target. However, I am very concerned that many of the builders that we work with will be unable to claim this credit - even when the homes that they are building meet the performance threshold. Currently, Eligible Contractors must "sell" the home in order to qualify. Well, not too many people are building spec homes these days, and it generally costs a builder much more to take out a construction loan than the $2000 credit will offset. So, this leaves most of my high performance builders unable to take the credit for the homeowner financed jobs that they are working on. Is there a way to address this important oversight?

I would also suggest that the proposed $200 credit to offset the Energy Ratings fee should be increased. We charge $750 for new home rating/Energy Star certification - which includes the HERS Rating (energy model), consulting, and 2 site visits. If we could subsidize $500 or more with a credit, then there would greater interest from the building community.

Thank you for your time and hard work, I will be following this legislation very closely.

Sincerely,

David Milliken

Owner/Manager

Horizon Residential Energy Services Maine, LLC