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Opening the window to federal remodeling tax credits

March 31, 2010

Courtesy of ARA Content

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 those 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.

“New windows not only make the home look more beautiful, they can help save energy and money for the homeowners,” says Chris Pickering, vice president, marketing, Ply Gem windows. “Homeowners can take advantage of the tax credit to increase the value of their home, plus shave some of the cost off of their monthly power bill.”

Ply Gem, a leader in the building products industry, offers some tips and guidelines to help homeowners make the most of the energy-efficient replacement window tax credit.

1. How much money can I get back with the windows tax credit?

Homeowners can receive a tax credit worth 30 percent of the purchase price of qualifying energy-efficient windows, up to a maximum of $1,500, if purchased and installed by Dec. 31, 2010.

To redeem the credit, be sure to save your invoice, which shows a breakout of window and installation costs, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels from all windows and doors and the manufacturer’s certificate.

2. 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 .30 or lower. Qualifying windows must also possess a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating of .30 or lower. The lower the window’s SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits.

A common indicator of a window’s energy efficiency is the ENERGY STAR label, which as of 2010 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.

Manufacturers like Ply Gem Windows offer glass packages to meet or exceed tax credit qualifications, as well as high-performance styles that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR requirements in all climate zones. For added energy efficiency, Ply Gem Windows products are also Green Approved by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center National Green Building Certification.

3. What are the benefits of remodeling my home with energy-efficient windows?

Energy-efficient windows that meet the tax qualifications offer more savings than a one-time federal tax credit. The Alliance to Save Energy says sealing and insulating your house—including utilizing energy-efficient windows—is a great first step to take when improving your home’s energy efficiency. Proper sealing and insulation can reduce your heating and cooling bill by approximately 20 percent. An energy audit may be available through your local utility or state energy office to help gauge the amount of energy you are currently using and determine what products would decrease your energy use.

Environmental and economic benefits are not the only upsides to remodeling a home—new windows in classic or contemporary designs can also enhance the aesthetic quality of the home and make a more comfortable living space.

4. Does the federal tax credit offer any other ways to save money?

The remodeling tax credit that expires at the end of the year offers homeowners several other options to improve their home and quality of life. Central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers and more are also ways to increase your home’s energy retention capabilities.

To further save on energy costs, homeowners can use insulated siding, reduce the amount of water consumption and unplug appliances when not in use. For other ideas about how to increase the energy efficiency of your home, visit energysavers.gov. Ask your local dealer or contractor about the window products that meet the current tax credit requirements. Visit plygemwindows.com or recovery.gov.

From the March 31-April 6, 2010 issue

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