With the demand for solar and energy-efficient home features growing, home builders can offer valuable resources for consumers to reap financial rewards for going green.
Going green is more than just a preference; in many ways it is a necessity. With our ever-changing environment, growing population and depleting resources, energy-efficiency is increasingly more important to consumers and home builders.
In NAHB’s latest home buyer preference survey (source: NAHB Eye On Housing), it was apparent that home buyers still look for green features in homes and are willing to pay more up front to save on utility and other expenses on the back-end. In addition to insulation that is above-code, Energy Star® appliances, Energy Star® whole home rating and Energy Star® windows were in the top ten of most popular home features to be considered essential or desirable. When it comes to investment, the median amount of buyers would pay more up front if the ROI is 20%. The average rate of return needed has fluctuated over the years and came in at 9.3% in 2015.
Although many home buyers are willing to pay more to go green, they would also welcome ways to reduce the various expenses associated with energy-efficient construction. Along with local programs that may be available through utility providers, there are a multitude of programs and grants of which many builders and consumers are unaware. Here is just a sample of some of the rebate and credit incentives for energy-efficient home construction and design:
DOE’s SunShot Initiative – Along with permitting, there are a number of added costs associated with solar installation that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says may add up to $2,500 to the overall cost of going solar (source: gosparc.org). For this reason, DOE launched the SolSmart program to make solar more attainable for home owners. Cities and communities must be nominated for the SolSmart designation. Visit the SolSmart program website to learn more and nominate your community.
Incentive Amount: $1,000-$2,000 (depends on energy savings and home type)
Expiration: December 31, 2016
Yes, you read that correctly. This incentive is for home builders. Site-built homes qualify for the credit if they are certified to reduce cooling and heating energy consumption by 50% relative to the IECC 2006 and meet minimum efficiency standards established by the DOE.
Expiration: December 31, 2016
Although the current tax credit available is a maximum of $500 for all improvements made in 2011-2016, it is a benefit worth sharing with clients looking to upgrade with the purchase of high-efficiency heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. To be eligible, the improvement must meet the prescriptive requirements established for it under the 2009 Energy Conservation Code.
Orlando Utilities Commission – Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
This program for Orlando Utility customers offers rebates on various energy efficient improvements for residential clients. Incentives include but are not limited to: window film or solar screens ($1/sq.ft.); Energy Star® Windows ($2/sq.ft.); Energy Star® Heat Pump Water Heaters (100% of cost up to $650); heat pumps ($20-$1,275/unit); ceiling insulation upgrades ($0.05/sq.ft.) and more. To receive the rebate, a proof of purchase and application must be mailed to OU Customer Connection.
The Texas property tax code allows 100% exemption of the appraised property value increase arising from the installation or construction of solar or wind-powered devices. The system must be used primarily for onsite energy needs. Those wishing to claim exemption must fill out Form 50-123 “Exemption Application for Solar or Wind-powered Energy Devices”.
No matter how small, clients will appreciate you offering resources and ways to fund new green building projects and renovations. To find incentives that are right for you, your projects and clients, visit DSIRE.
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