Make Your Home Energy Efficient and Get a Tax Break
As this year’s dreaded TAX DAY looms ever closer, many of us will be looking for any way possible to reduce our tax burden. If you had invested in one of many possible ways to make your home energy efficienct back in 2012, you’d have one less tax deduction to uncover.
When Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on January 3 of this year, they extended the tax credit for “incremental residential energy efficiency improvements.” That means homeowners can receive 10-percent credit (not to exceed $500 in total credits) for energy efficiency measures installed in both 2012 and 2013. According to the folks at ENERGY STAR (which, in case you didn’t know, is a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and U.S. Department of Energy), eligible measures to make your home energy efficient include:
- Biomass fuel property
- Central air conditioning units and air-source Heat Pumps
- Electric Heat Pump Water Heater
- Home Sealing
- Natural Gas and Propane Furnaces
- Natural Gas, Propane, Oil Water Heaters
- Window Film
To learn more about product eligibility, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable and Efficiency, or the Tax Incentives Assistance Project.
By making energy efficient choices, you can lop off approximately one-third of your energy bill, while also reducing greenhouse gasses. And anyone who has visited the Salt Lake Valley this winter knows, firsthand, that something has to be done to reduce our carbon footprint.
If you’re ready to begin making energy efficient upgrades to your home, you can start by assessing your home’s energy use via ENERGY STAR’s Home Energy Yardstick. Then, use the Home Energy Advisor for recommendations on energy-saving home improvements, which are customized by zip code. They also have tips for remedying common household issues, such as cold floors in the winter, drafty rooms, ice dams and peeling paint. Find out how to address these issues by clicking here.
The original DIY channel, TLC, has compiled a truly exhaustive (as in, I became exhausted just reading it) list of ways to improve the efficiency of your home, but you might want to start by perusing Rocky Mountain Power’s Energy Efficiency Tools & Resources, which are a bit less daunting, and then complete the Department of Energy’s online home audit.
As springtime approaches, be sure to have your sprinklers inspected and reset by a professional, which can save hundreds of dollars on your water bill, while also preserving that rarest of high mountain commodities. Better yet, Xeriscape your yard using native, drought-tolerant plants and hardscaping. Park City Municipal Corporation has some helpful information on getting started.
Finally, do what our parents kept reminding us to do, and turn off the lights, close that refrigerator door, and turn down your thermostat to conserve energy. Park City school kids are currently participating in the annual Cool The Earth program, and it’s high time many adults learn what is becoming second nature for our youngest residents.