(Part 4 in the Go Green! Series)
Designing a home that is energy efficient has a proven track record for returning on your investment. It doesn’t take long before you start seeing results reflected in your energy bills.
Whether you decide on a whole-house system approach or you keep it simple with extra insulation and energy efficient appliances, you might be eligible for some financial benefits and financing.
Federal Tax Credits--2016
Claim credits on your federal income taxes when you spring for energy-efficient improvements.The credits can change from year to year so find out what the current offerings are and follow up with a financial planner or the IRS. For 2016, there are three credits you can claim for 2016 or retroactively for purchases made in 2015.
10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50-$300 in an existing home that is your primary residence.
Details: When you invest in any of the following certified by Energy Star, you can get up to $500:
• Non-solar water heater
• Windows, skylights, doors
• Central air conditioning
• Biomass stove
• Air source heat pump
30% of cost with no limit for alternative energy systems on existing and new construction principal and secondary homes (no rentals).
Details: Geothermal heat pumps, solar energy systems, and small, residential wind turbines will earn you a 30% of cost credit through 2016. Solar systems get the credit through 2021 with a decrease in the percentage in 2020 to 26% and 22% in 2021.
30% of cost with no limit on fuel cells in existing and new construction homes that are a principal residence.
Details: Residential fuel cell and microturbine systems earn this credit for your home, but the credit expires at the end of 2016 so now is the time to make the investment.
Refitting for Energy Efficiency
Start your refitting with an energy audit which will tell you how your home currently uses its energy and how you can improve your efficiency and cut costs. The auditor will make recommendations for how to proceed. Depending on how extensive your remodel is, you can make your home more energy efficient with these projects:
Product rebates and other incentives offered to consumers are hiding everywhere. Before you make purchases, ask your sales associate about rebates and special offers. You can also try Energy Star’s Rebate Finder. Just enter your zip code and let the savings begin.
Incentives and Savings Programs
On the state and local level you can find financial incentives to help you out with energy-efficiency. Try visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to find what’s offered near you.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy aims to help ease the upfront costs associated with updating your home and lists many resources you can turn to for financial incentive.
Your hometown probably offers some kind of savings program to even out your energy bill and help you be more efficient. Get in touch for details.
If you are buying, selling, refinancing, or remodeling your home and are interested in making it energy efficient, check out an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM). It allows you to qualify for more money because it assumes you’ll have lower energy costs and that you’ll put those savings back into your home. These loans are available through most loan programs. Contact your state energy office for more information.
Getting a home energy rating on your existing home can help you qualify for an EEM. Most auditors are accredited HERS (home energy rating system) raters. A HERS rating puts your home’s current energy efficiency on a scale from 0 to 150 where lower ratings are more energy efficient.
If you can show that your home is already efficient, you might be able to get a more favorable debt to income qualifying ratio if you want to buy, refinance, or remodel. If you don’t have a good HERS rating but can show that plans for improvement will save you more money that you’ll spend, you’ll also likely qualify.
Make your home more energy efficient and take advantage of some serious financial benefits while you’re at it. Learn more at energy.gov.
Energy efficiency is important to Daltile! Learn what we’re doing to help you take better care of the environment.
Join us tomorrow for the final installment of the Go Green! Series. Or get caught up on past green posts.