New Tax Incentives Make Going Green Easier

 

Although environmental awareness is growing, Charlotte is not known for being an eco-friendly city. The American Lung Association recently cited Charlotte as having the 8th worst air quality in the country. And because of drought, the presence of 11 hydroelectric dams, global warming, and unchecked development along its banks, the Catawba was named the  “the most endangered river in America” by the environmental group American Rivers.

Our energy costs may rise in the near future as Duke Energy Carolinas has filed a request with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to increase its North Carolina customer rates by approximately 12.6 percent. With costs rising and resources stretching thin, we need to focus on ways to lessen our carbon footprint. The biggest difference can be made in our homes

Homes and workplaces account for over 40% of the energy that is used on the electric grid. Nearly 50% of that energy is wasted. Energy efficiency in the home lowers operating costs, increases comfort and often improves indoor air quality. Consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment can receive a tax credit.

A tax credit is typically more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a tax credit reduces tax dollar-for-dollar, while a deduction only removes a percentage of tax that is owed. Consumers can itemize purchases on their federal income tax form, which will lower the total amount of tax they owe the government.

In addition to federal tax incentives, some consumers will be eligible for state or utility rebates, as well as state tax incentives for energy-efficient homes, vehicles and equipment.

New federal tax incentives for making your home more energy efficient make “going green” even more attractive.  We can now write off as a tax credit up to 30% to a maximum of $1,500 annually for energy efficiency measures we use in our homes. For those of us wanting to invest in solar and geothermal, we get an even bigger incentive on both the state and federal level upwards of a 50% tax credit.  Also, North Carolina is offering a sales tax holiday on qualifying energy star certified appliances from Nov. 6-8, 2009.

For more information on federal and state tax incentives visit www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm or www.dsireusa.org.
Matt Coapman is President of Green Home LLC, a business that provides comprehensive home health and energy audits for homeowners and businesses. He can be reached at 704-909-7913 or www.greenhome-charlotte.com.

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