Open a window to federal remodeling tax credits

April 13, 2010

As warm weather approaches and the tax credit for energy-efficient replacement windows is in full swing, now is the perfect time to consider upgrading your home with new windows to help save on cooling costs in hot summer months, and to also save on heating costs when winter rolls around again.

The tax credit for energy-efficient replacement windows and doors, originally introduced in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is set to expire at the end of 2010, which makes this year the best time for homeowners to replace their windows and upgrade the look and feel of their home.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help homeowners make the most of the energy-efficient replacement window tax credit:

How do I qualify for the tax credit?

The federal government established strict standards for windows to qualify for the tax credit. Replacement windows must have a glass package with a U-Factor rating — the rate at which heat is prevented from escaping — of 0.30 or lower. Qualifying windows must also possess a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating of 0.30 or lower. The lower the window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits.

A common indicator of a window’s energy efficiency is the Energy Star label, which as of this year includes more stringent guidelines. Homeowners who purchase windows with the Energy Star label should still check with their contractor to ensure the windows they purchase meet the tax credit guidelines because the tax credit qualifications may vary from Energy Star guidelines in certain locations. Read more

Trade in old appliances for more energy-efficient models

April 13, 2010

Many homeowners may not realize their appliances are a big energy drain — and a drain on their wallet. Cash for Appliances Washington, now available throughout the Evergreen State, offers consumers extra cash back to help them make the switch to a new energy-efficient refrigerator or clothes washer.

Refrigerators manufactured before 1993 cost about $80 to run on average each year, compared to current Energy Star-qualified models that cost as little as $30 annually. Clothes washers that are more than 10 years old add an extra $135 per year in utility costs compared to a new Energy Star-qualified model. In addition to obtaining extra cash back after purchase, participants will save money month after month on their utility bills.

Cash for Appliances Washington rebates are only available until funds run out. The program offers $100 cash back on new, qualified Energy Star clothes washers and $75 on new Energy Star refrigerators when the old unit is recycled. These cash-back incentives are in addition to the incentives offered through Washington utilities for purchasing new and recycling old appliances.

“Washington has an objective to improve statewide per capita energy efficiency by 10 percent by 2012, towards a goal of 20 percent by 2020,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release. “We stimulate the appliance marketplace by offering consumers a good reason to purchase a new appliance. We reduce water and energy consumption which helps preserve the environment of our state, and consumers reduce their long-term energy bills.” Read more

Habitat for Humanity breaks ground June 11

June 2, 2009

Habitat for Humanity of East King County will build five duplexes in the Issaquah Highlands. Architect’s rendering by RO2 Design Studio

Habitat for Humanity of East King County will build five duplexes in the Issaquah Highlands. Architect’s rendering by RO2 Design Studio

Affordable houses for 10 families will begin to rise in the Issaquah Highlands in the next several months, local Habitat for Humanity officials said last week.

Habitat officials and volunteers will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking June 11 to kick off construction of five duplexes near the intersection of Northeast Magnolia Street and Northeast Logan Street.

Habitat for Humanity of East King County volunteers will build the houses on nearly an acre of land, which Habitat purchased with help from the city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and A Regional Coalition for Housing, an organization of Eastside cities and King County that works to increase the supply of affordable housing. Read more

Get greenback rebates with energy saving upgrades

April 13, 2009

A natural gas, thankless water heater

A natural gas, thankless water heater

In these tough economic times, there are ways for families pinching pennies to reap the benefits of saving money through going green. The first way is to install energy saving devices, from toilets and washers to water heaters and furnaces. In many cases, additional savings can also be enjoyed through rebates once installations are complete.

For example, customers of Cascade Water Alliance can replace their washing machines and toilets and receive a rebate of $100 per replacement.

Mike Brent, water resources manager for the alliance, said depending upon the unit’s WashWise metric, the rebate ranges from $50 – $100. Read more