Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Rally Support from Industry

October 4th, 2019 by Kyra Thompson

In an effort to promote high-efficiency home construction and renovation, two bipartisan pieces of legislation were announced on October 2, which is recognized as Energy Efficiency Day.

The bills seek to reinstate, strengthen and expand the energy efficiency tax credits for homeowners and new-home builders that were in place but expired in 2017.

The Home Energy Savings Act, geared toward homeowners, would achieve this by establishing higher goals for energy-efficient upgrades. The New Home Energy Efficiency Act, geared toward builders, aims to modernize standards. Both bills propose increasing incentives for homeowners and builders who achieve the updated standards and goals.

The legislation, sponsored by democrats and republicans in both the Senate and the House, has rallied support from a coalition of businesses, trade associations and advocacy groups, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). All three associations participated in a hearing held September 20 before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy to discuss legislative measures that could promote “green building” practices.

AIA and USGBC are also part of the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders, which released a statement the same day the bills were announced pushing Congress to pass them quickly.

“This is jobs and economic policy. It’s climate policy. And it’s tax relief that puts more money in homeowners’ pockets both in a tax cut and in lower energy bills,” said Alliance president Jason Hartke in the statement. “Homeowners overwhelmingly say they want to improve the efficiency of their homes and this bill provides the incentives that are needed to make the investment happen.”

For homeowners, the proposed incentive allows for up to $1,200 in tax credits over a lifetime for installing home equipment and components that meet certain efficiency levels, including doors and windows, among other products. Credits for each product category are capped at certain amounts. Homebuilders can receive a $2,500 incentive for building new, high-efficiency homes.

The bills were modeled after a proposal that was developed with stakeholder negotiations, led by ASE, according to the statement.

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