Over the course of the past ten days we have already seen our share of strange things coming out of Washington. Your guess is as good as mine as to what we can expect next. But, The View from Here is that there might still be some hope for beneficial legislation that has been on the books for some time.

I’ll start with the SAVE Act, a proposal that’s been around since 2011 that considers a home’s energy use when it comes to financing eligibility. I’ve discussed it in the past in conjunction with other pieces of legislation because of its potential to spark job creation and innovation, enable better mortgage underwriting, reduce utility bills and, of course, provide affordable financing for energy-efficient window and door replacements.

The SAVE Act is still on my watch list because it has almost made it through Congress in the past because of its bi-partisan support. We’ll see if it finds its way back on the agenda.

Then, there’s the Property Assessed Clean Energy program (PACE), which has already been passed in 34 states. Now in the hands of state and local government, this legislation allows loans to be transferred on a property to the next owner, yielding many benefits including: secure financing on home improvement projects over a longer term, potential for homeowners to deduct payments from their income tax liability and it allows municipalities to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy without putting general funds at risk.

As I have said before, PACE is another example of increasing the value of energy-efficient upgrades and reflecting them in the value of the home. And it’s another indication that state-level government is the best hope for energy savings programs that will benefit our industry. However, the unfortunate downside to this is that it makes it much more complicated for sales and marketing programs at the national level because there’s so much more to track.

And, finally, it’s worth bringing up federal tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements. It seems highly unlikely they will be renewed. But, as I said earlier, stranger things have happened and are happening.

I’ll continue to track these pieces of legislation and more. But my best advice right now is to continue looking for opportunities at the state and local levels and consider getting involved with the PACE program, which still has a gap in participation from the fenestration industry (see who is PACE-certified in your area). You can also view a comprehensive list of available state programs on the DSIRE® website.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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