Monday, September 21, 2009

Trade in those old energy hog appliances soon!

This is great information for all of us who are either remodeling a home or are considering doing so. This will even benefit those who are considering replacing appliances and nothing else. The program should be on-line later this year or early in 2010 according to sources below.

- David Truran, REALTOR®
Yours in GREEN

Cash For Clunkers Rewards Consumers for Appliance Efficiency

When the U.S. government offered cash for clunkers earlier this year, consumers stormed car dealerships to take advantage of the program.

Appliance manufacturers and retailers would welcome a similar onslaught when the appliance version of cash for clunkers takes effect. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and nearly $300 million will become available to help consumers upgrade home appliances to Energy Star®-qualified models.

Program details are still being worked out, though it's expected that funds will be available later this year or in early 2010. The appliance program differs from the car deal in that there are no mandatory trade-ins and rebates will be administered by individual states, rather than by the Federal government. Also, each state will determine rebate amounts for various appliance types and the method for processing rebates.

It's expected that rebates will range from $50 to $200. Mike Abt, president of Glenview, Ill.-base Abt Electronics, points out that local governments and utility companies, along with retailers, may offer incentives (for information on incentives, see "Additional Resources" below) to sweeten deals.

For instance, recognizing that consumers can't wait for the upcoming program to replace critical appliances if they break, retailers like Abt already are promoting and discounting Energy Star®-qualified appliances.

Though states can determine what items will qualify, the DOE is suggesting that they focus on those with the potential to deliver the greatest energy savings, such as central air conditioners, boilers and appliances.

"I think the most popular will be refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines because they use the most energy in a house," comments Abt. He estimates that someone replacing a 10- or 15-year-old refrigerator with an energy-efficient model can see about $100 in annual energy savings.

And saving energy by getting energy hogs off the grid, along with stimulating the economy are among the DOE's aims.

In the longer term, energy efficient appliances also may have an effect on housing values, believes Abt, who says, "Energy is going to be a more important part of a house than it is now, as energy costs rise over the next five or ten years." He believes consumers will place greater value on a home's energy efficiency and adds, "Energy-efficient appliances will be the second most important thing to affect home values after kitchen and bathroom remodels."

Additional Resources:

  • Energy Star features comprehensive information about the Energy Star® program, along with calculators to help you determine how much you can save by swapping aging appliances for Energy Star®-qualified models. Here is one example, for a refrigerator replacement.

  • U.S. Department of Energy--The agency offers guides to help consumers determine how appliances are rated for energy efficiency and what to look for when shopping for new appliances.

  • Patty Kim, National Geographic's "The Green Guide" correspondent, offers video tips to determine when it's cost- and energy-effective to replace appliances.

  • The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, provides information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

By Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

The report below was prepared by Amanda Goucher, who is NAR's Green Designation Coordinator. As a city, Houston seems to be way behind more progressive cities in Texas in terms of local tax credits for installation of Green home features (like solar panels to produce your own electricity). This is a good discussion of the available federal credits.

Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

The Federal Government continues to provide incentives to homeowners to help encourage improvements in energy efficiency. Credit opportunities exist for everything from cars and appliances to homes and buildings. With more available options for energy-efficient appliances and products, a tax incentive is a wonderful way for the public to become more aware of green alternatives.

Credits are available for both residential and commercial buildings. Many credits are based on standards for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) or Energy Star, and must meet International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Tax credit details for home improvements:

* Improvements must be installed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
* They must be for your principal residence, except for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, and small wind energy systems, where second homes and rentals qualify. Each must have a Manufacturer Certification Statement to qualify.
* For record keeping, save the Manufacturer Certification Statement and your receipt. Claim improvements made in 2009 on your 2009 taxes (filed by April 15, 2010). Use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version), which will be available in late 2009 or early 2010.
* If you are building a new home, you can qualify for the tax credit for geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells, but not the tax credits for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC, or non-solar water heaters. (Source:
* $1,500 is the maximum total amount you can claim for products placed in service in 2009 and 2010 for most home improvements. Exceptions – in effect through 2016 – are geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems, which are not subject to this cap.

An eligible residential project could include new roofing using metal or reflective shingles that meet ENERGY STAR standards. In this case, the tax credit would be for 30% of the cost of roofing materials only, up to $1,500. This is one of many examples of residential upgrades. The ENERGY STAR website and have many more specific examples (and ideas) for green residential upgrades and describe any stipulations there in.

Commercial Sector

Tax credits in the commercial sector include a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for owners or designers of new or existing commercial buildings that can save at least 50% of the heating and cooling energy of a building meeting ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. Windows, doors, and skylights are also a great way to take advantage of this credit program.

For a complete list of products and requirements, qualifications, and instructions on how to apply for these credits, visit the Energy Star website . You can also find Frequently Asked Questions about the tax credits there.



Monday, April 13, 2009

Realizing Your Dreams: Going Green

Hello, I'm David Truran, and I'm here to...


Tell me about your real estate hopes and dreams and we will develop a plan for actualizing them. You may be looking for a home or investment property, or be looking to sell your property for the best possible price in the market. You may want to sell your current home and then buy another - we can optimize selling and buying so you have a one/two punch in today's market.

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Additionally, Keller Williams Metropolitan is a world-class office associated with a nation wide group of real estate professionals. I pledge to put your interests first in using my passion for home and property to help you accomplish your goals in real estate.

Please call or email me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your situation.