Red Barn Renovation: Energy Efficiency Tax Breaks

WoodWise

(Two weeks ago, I kicked off a series of posts in which I’ll document the transformation of an old barn into my future workshop.)

As the world’s big wigs convene in Copenhagen to address climate change, it’s important that we do our part here at home. For this little wig, that means renovating the barn in an energy-efficient manner. Fortunately, the recent stimulus package includes plenty of tax incentives to do just that.

Politics aside, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has kick-started a new wave of responsible renovation. No longer is "green" construction all about the Benjamins baby! In fact, the economic stimulus brings new meaning to the word "greenback": Americans are currently eligible for a 30% tax credit towards the cost (up to $1,500 per year) of energy-efficient home improvements. Now, we needn't sacrifice sustainability in renovating the barn — the tax break turns a new wood stove, insulation and Energy Star windows into affordable solutions for curbing our energy bills. Below is a longer list of eligible products:

Biomass Stoves – Wood, wood pellet and biomass stoves that offer a minimum 75% “thermal efficiency value” are eligible. Installation costs are included in the tax credit.

Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC) – Energy-efficient circulating fans, heat pumps, central air units, boilers and furnaces are covered. Speak with an HVAC specialist for further details on eligibility. Installation costs are included in the tax credit.

Insulation – Installing insulation is a quick and easy way of improving your home’s energy efficiency. The tax credit covers insulation that meets IECC code, but does not cover installation.

Roofs (Metal & Asphalt) – Only Energy Star certified roofs qualify for the tax credit. These metal and asphalt roofs better reflect the sun's rays, improving energy efficiency in the summer months. Installation is not covered.

Water Heaters (non-solar) – Heating your home's water can amount to a quarter of your energy usage. Look for a model that has a “thermal efficiency value” of 90%. Installation costs are covered.

Windows, Doors & Skylights – Installing Energy Star certified doors or windows will significantly lower your monthly heating bills. Installation costs are not included.

Window Coverings – Currently, Hunter Douglas brand Duette Architella shades are the only energy-conserving window shades eligible for energy efficient tax breaks.

For further details on the tax credits, visit the Energy Star site here.

Images: 1 Treehugger , 2 RAIS , 3 Henderson & Daughter

Johnny is currently blogging his experience as a student and amateur woodworker. You can keep track of his projects on his blog, Woodlearner.

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