The changes made to the tax code in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) were made with the intent of supporting and accelerating the development and deployment of new/improved energy sources and energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. EPAct 2005 is 553 pages in the compressed version and touches virtually every aspect of energy use and production in the United States. Please go to thomas.loc.gov to read HR 6. The 'Title' specific to tax incentives is Title XIII - Energy Policy Tax Incentives, Subtitle C - Conservation and Energy Efficiency Provisions, Sec 1332 - New Energy Efficient Home Credit, Sec 1334 - Credit for Energy Efficient Appliances, and Sec 1335 - Credit for Residential Energy Efficient Property.
Section 1332 details the requirements to be eligible for the $2,000 credit for single family dwellings. Section 1334 details what is necessary to apply for the energy efficient appliances credits, such as dishwashers, clothes washers and refrigerators. And, section 1335 details how to qualify for the credits for residential energy efficient property. For more simplified and user friendly information on how to qualify for these credits, please go to the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) at www.natresnet.org and the Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) at www.energytaxincentives.org.
According to www.energystar.gov , "ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy helping Americans save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2005 to avoid greenhouse emissions equivalent to those from 23 million card-all while saving $12 billion on their utility bills.
Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing feature, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice."
Product Savings in the ENERGY STAR Program. ENERGY STAR home electronics (televisions, audio, etc.) products produce an average energy savings of 38% above standard new products. ENERGY STAR heating/cooling products (central air conditioners, gas furnaces, programmable thermostats, etc.) produce an average energy savings of 22% above standard new products. ENERGY STAR appliances (clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.) produce an average energy savings of 25% above standard new products. And, ENERGY STAR lighting products (fixtures, bulbs, etc.) produce a 66% energy savings when compared to standard new products.
Energy Efficient Homes. Energy efficient homes can save at leas 15% or more energy compared to traditionally built homes. Any home three stories or less can earn the ENERGY STAR label if it has been verified to meet EPA's guidelines for energy efficiency, including log homes. These energy savings can be achieved through established, reliable building technologies, such as:
- Effective Insulation
According to ENERGY STAR, "Properly installed, climate-appropriate insulation in floors, walls, and attics ensures even temperatures throughout the house, less energy consumption, and increased comfort."
- High-Performance Windows
ENERGY STAR maintains that, "Energy-efficient windows employ advanced technologies, such as protective coatings and improved frame assemblies, to help keep heat in during winter and out during summer. These windows also block damaging ultraviolet sunlight that can discolor carpets and furnishings.
- Tight Construction and Ducts
According to ENERGY STAR, "Sealing holes and cracks in the home's 'envelope' and in duct systems helps reduce drafts, moisture, dust, pollen, and noise. A tightly sealed home improves comfort... while reducing utility bills."
- Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment
ENERGY STAR maintains, "In addition to using less energy to operate, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems can be quieter, reduce indoor humidity, and improve the overall comfort of the home. Typically, energy efficient equipment is also more durable and requires less maintenance than standard models.
- Lighting and Appliances
ENERGY STAR quailed products-lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs, ventilation fans, and appliances, such as refrigerators, dish washers, and washing machines-provide additional energy savings to the owner.
ENERGYguide (www.energyguide.com) is an "unbiased guide to the myriad of energy options that are available. With ENERGYguide, you can learn how to lower your energy bills by replacing equipment in your home, change the way you use energy, or select a different electric or gas supplier if you live in a deregulated state. You will also learn how your choices impact the environment."
ENERGYguide helps you analyze your home energy use and choose efficient products. For instance, according to ENERGYguide and ENERGY STAR, "the average US household spends $1400 each year on their energy bills. By choosing ENERGY STAR qualified products, each household can cut this usage by 30%, saving more than $400 per year."
One example of this is by using ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and they last up to 10 times longer. You can use CFLs almost anywhere in your home-in table lamps, recessed ceiling fixtures, etc. They are made by most major manufacturers and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.