Homeowners and Remodelers Still Learning About Stimulus Credits


On May 12, 2009, a media teleconference for consumers and pros hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) re-examined the basics of the energy-efficiency remodeling dollars currently allowed under the Stimulus Act's Existing Home Retrofit (25C) tax credit, citing continued lack of awareness about its benefits among homeowners as well as remodelers. Speakers at the conference also explained how those knowledgeable about the tax credit can help homeowners rethink typical home improvement projects, such as bathroom remodels or room additions, to include energy-improvement property and labor described in the law.

Calling the tax credit a "best-kept secret ... among the average consumer today, and for that matter, the average remodeler" for improving the overall value of remodeling projects, Michael Strong, president of Brothers Strong of Houston encouraged pros to consider "whole-house" improvements that qualify for credit dollars. Between the resulting long-term energy savings and the immediate tax benefit, qualifying remodeling jobs can be a highly affordable proposition for homeowners.

Energy improvements to home heating and water heating are two appealing ways to take advantage of the tax benefit. With help from the credit, propane tankless water heaters and traditional storage heaters are now comparable in cost. But tankless units have a longer average service life — about 20 years — and are generally more energy efficient. Figure in any local tax credits and rebates for using propane and homeowners can save more than $100 per year, according to Eugene Lamana, residential business manager at Rinnai. Lastly, as a so-called "qualified energy property," the tankless unit and the material and labor cost of installation qualify for the credit.

"These are just some examples of how the energy-efficiency tax credit helps consumers save money in making home improvements and cutting down utility bills," said Gregory Miedema, chairman of NAHB Remodeling. "Homeowners should contact a professional remodeler near them for advice on installing tax credit-qualified improvements in their home." The NAHB's Web site includes information on choosing a qualified professional as well as a directory of remodeling pros. A digital audio recording of the media teleconference, as well as other related resources, can be downloaded from the NAHB site.



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