Homeowners are unaware and not taking advantage of tax credit for energy efficient home improvements

Half way through 2009, ConstructionDeal.com surveyed approximately 5,000 project owners, primarily homeowners and discovered that nearly 40% were not planning on taking advantage of the $1,500 Tax Credit for energy efficient home improvements. 25% were completely unaware of this tax credit while 10% said they had already taken advantage of energy efficient home improvements. ConstructionDeal.com helps homeowners find contractors to complete home improvement projects and have evaluated the trends regarding awareness and usage of this stimulus plan.

ENERGY STAR has noticed an increasing trend of awareness as the popularity for their tax credit page and website has gone up since February 2009. ENERGY STAR representative Karen Schneider said, “Traffic to our tax credit page is up about 500% and overall, traffic to energystar.gov is up about 50% in the past 5 months.” ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy with the purpose to help consumers save money and protect the environment.

For large remodeling or addition projects, senior editor of Remodeling magazine, Nina Patel says “that during the project planning phase, a homeowner might ask about the tax credit and how it could affect their project. In terms of usage, I’d say that our full-service remodelers are not seeing an increase in business because of the tax credit.” Homeowners are more likely to select small home improvements that qualify.

This tax credit came into effect February 17, 2009 when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed. The official name is “Non-business Energy Property Tax Credit” and qualified home improvements that are ready and available to use between 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010 can receive a federal tax credit for 30% of the purchase price – up to a maximum of $1,500. Improvements made during a remodel or addition also can qualify.

All the home improvement products have energy-efficiency requirements. For example, replacement windows must have a U-factor at 0.30 or below and SHGC at 0.30 or below to earn the tax credit.

Some of the qualified home improvements include:

• Windows
• Insulation
• Water Heaters
• Doors
• Metal & Asphalt Roofs
• Central Air Conditioners
• Heat Pumps
• Furnaces & Boilers

These improvements can only be made to the primary residence and homeowners will need to keep manufacturer efficiency certifications from products they have installed and the receipt from their contractor. The IRS tax form 5695 will be available in late 2009 or early 2010.

Popular home improvements are air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces and new windows. The tax credit will offset the cost of the energy efficient products and in the long run, result in savings through decreased energy bills.

Large green improvements or additions may be eligible for another provision – the “Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credit” which also is a 30% tax credit but has no dollar cap, second homes qualify and this provision is available until December 31, 2016.

The qualified improvements include:

• Geothermal Heat Pumps
• Wind Turbines
• Solar Water Heating Systems
• Solar Photovoltaic Panels

– Courtesy of ConstructionDeal.com.

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