Most people know that using sustainable products and replacing outdated home systems with modern earth-friendly mechanicals will save money in the long run. In fact, some estimate with proper changes utilities can be reduced by as much as 45%. However, homeowners are concerned with the upfront costs; how much will it cost to make these changes?
While some renovations are pricier than their standard counterparts there are ways to make these changes within your budget. Costs can be reduced if residents take advantage of tax incentives, rebates, and attractive financing programs.
Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit
This is a Personal Tax Credit and is available on residential properties. The credit applies to limited technologies:
- Solar water heat, solar space heat, photovoltaics, and fuel cells.
Maximum Incentive: $5,000 for solar-energy systems and $1,500 for fuel cells.
Energy Conservation Improvements Property Exemption
This is a Property Tax Exemption and is available on residential properties. The exemption applies to these technologies:
- Solar water heat, photovoltaics, wind, equipment insulation, water heaters, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, air conditioners, programmable thermostats, energy management systems/Building controls, caulking/weather-stripping, duct/air sealing, building insulations, windows, and doors.
Amount: 100% of added assessed value to residence.
Solar, Wind & Biomass Energy Systems Exemption
This is a Property Tax Exemption and is available on several types of property including residential. The exemption applies to these technologies:
-Solar water heat, solar space heat, solar thermal electric, solar thermal process heat, photovoltaics, wind, biomass, daylighting, anaerobic digestion.
This is a 15 year exemption.
Solar Sales Tax Exemption
This is a Sales Tax Exemption and is available on residential property. The exemption applies to these technologies:
-Passive solar space heat, solar water heat, solar space heat, photovoltaics.
Amount: 100% exemption
NY SERDA- Energy $mart Loan Fund
This is a State Loan Program and is available on several types of property including residential. The Loans apply to these technologies:
-Clothes washers/dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators/freezers, dehumidifiers, ceiling fan, lighting, chillers, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, air conditioners, caulking/weather-stripping, duct/air sealing, building insulation, motors, agricultural equipment, custom/others pending approval, photovoltaics, wind, geothermal pumps.
Maximum Amount: $20,000 for 1-4 family homes
These are just a few of the many incentives available. For more detailied requirements, program guidelines and contacts to begin these financing processes please visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Green mortgages allow homeowners to use their commitment to the environment to leverage bigger loans. The inception of the green loan dates to 1979. The privelage of a higher loan is based on the prediction of lower utility bills. The homeowner who spends less on the utilities and maintenance of a home will have more free money and therefore should be granted a higher loan amount. These savings can be considered income by the federal government.
To apply for a loan the homeowner must provide a HERS report to certify that their home meets the environmental requirements for such a loan or possibly obtain a HERS report suggesting improvements that a second mortgage would help pay for and the long term savings.
Green loans are not difficult to find. Because they are a long established option most conventional banks offer the loan program. The only real difference between a green loan and a conventional loan is that there is an additional step for the buyer, an energy audit of the home. This costs a few hundred dollars and delays the process just a few days but the cost of the audit is often included in the loan and incentives and rebates more than cover the cost of an audit. Some banks offer their own incentives in addition to those incentives offered by the government such as an additional $1,000 off the cost of closing.