The following is a guest post by our good friend Miles Dyson of Inspection Connection. Miles is one of Las Cruces, New Mexico’s foremost experts in home inspection, energy rating, and green certification.
During the lame duck session prior to the holiday recess, Congress extended the $2,000 federal tax credit for builders who build energy-efficient homes. This extension is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, and extends to Dec. 31, 2011. The extension was part of a sweeping tax package negotiated by the White House and Republican Congressional leaders.
Beginning in 2006, and first extended through 2009, a credit of $2,000 was available to home builders who built homes that save 50 percent of the heating and cooling energy of a comparable home that met the standards of the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code.
A $1,000 credit was also available to manufactured home producers for models that save 30 percent or that qualify for the federal Energy Star Homes program. This manufactured home credit has been extended through 2011 as well.
This incentive, popular with traditional Las Cruces home builders as well as advocates for environmental and energy issues, has been key in moving new-home construction in the direction of better efficiency.
Industry surveys indicate that approximately 10,000 new homes qualified for and received the $2,000 credit the first year it was available. In 2007, just the second year the credit program was in place, nearly 30,000 new homes met the above code energy efficiency requirements nationwide.
Dozens of Las Cruces home builders have taken advantage of this federal tax credit incentive on hundreds of homes. Typically, homes in our area that qualified were also targeting certification under programs such as Energy Star, Build Green New Mexico or LEED for Homes. Local builders were able to provide efficient, certified program homes at a slightly better price point since the credit defrays some of the cost of the aforementioned code upgrades and required third-party inspection and testing.
This extension will allow area builders who completed BGNM or LEED-H homes in 2010 to claim the credit on their 2010 taxes. Many homes completed under the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star program may also qualify and builders should follow up with their home energy rater to determine which projects meet the tax credit requirements.
It is good for new homebuyers to understand that the Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit is only awarded to above-code homes that have been inspected and tested by a RESNET-certified home energy rater. Every qualifying home will have a home energy rating index. This serves as a “miles per gallon” type measurement that allows comparisons between homes so you know what to expect when your monthly utility bills arrive. Homes that have earned this tax credit have upgrades to insulation and windows as well as more energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment with tight ductwork.
As our economy slowly recovers, home builders will be able to use the energy efficiency tax credit as a tool to provide better efficiency homes at affordable price points the current market conditions demand.
Miles Dyson is the owner of Inspection Connection LC – Professional Home Energy Rating and Home Inspection Services in Mesilla Park and can be reached at 202-2457. Dyson is a RESNET certified Home Energy Rater and ASHI certified Home Inspector.
Contact Picacho Mountain today at 575-523-2500 for more information on building your energy-efficient, green home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Custom Estate Homes, Patio Homes, Town Homes, and Neighborhood Retail.