Archive for July, 2009
US tax advantages of Solar panels (both water and electric)
Here’s another ‘sunny’ incentive to go green: Using solar panels and other solar powered equipment can help you avail of a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost, with no upper limit. The tax credit is available for both – solar water heating systems and for photovoltaic cells that produce electricity. Solar water heating system must create at least 50% of its energy from the sun and must be for use in a residential property. Tax credit cannot be claimed if you’re looking at heating up your swimming pool, Jacuzzi or hot tub, only for simple every day usage within the house. It is important, that your system be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation or the Energy Star.
With photovoltaic cells, you can avail of similar 30% of cost tax credit for residential electricity needs. It is also important that the panels meet the necessary fire and electrical code requirements.
The tax credit is available only for systems ‘placed in service’ before the 31st of December, 2016. To avail of the tax credit, you will need to file the IRS Form 5695 for the year during which you’re claiming tax credit. Along with this, you will also need a statement of certification from the manufacturer, certifying that his products meet the qualifying criteria for the tax credit.
The passive house standard for the best energy efficiency your home could have.
The Passive House standard (passivhaus in German) is a very strict and rigorous standard for energy efficiency in homes and other closed structures. Passive House standards lay down guidelines for creating houses that have ultra low energy requirements for their cooling and heating creating highly energy efficient structures. Passive House standard is often confused with Passive solar building design. Although both look at same ends – creating energy efficient buildings – passive solar building design is one of the techniques involved in creating a house that meets the Passive House standards. As such, Passive House can be said to be a broader building concept when it comes to green building.
The unique feature of houses created using the Passive House standard is that they save up to 90% heating costs, largely by employing passive solar techniques and excellent insulation and ventilation systems, AND it is possible to create such a house even in regions with relatively little sunlight at costs that can equal those of regular homes. In fact, passive houses are largely found in European, specifically Scandinavian countries, where sunlight is much less than what may be thought desirable to induce solar heating. Thus, it is easily possible to execute such a system in the kind of weather we have and more importantly, to make it sustainable.
Also, because of the kind of ‘air-tightness’ and insulation these houses provide, the indoor air quality of a passive house is much better than what is found in other houses (That’s one more credit on the LEED rating system in your pocket)
Andersen is a popular name among homeowners and architects in the US when it comes to windows and doors. Whether green building and energy efficient homes interest you or not – Andersen is still the choice of many for their homes because of the quality, design finish and features of the windows and doors they manufacture. Andersen’s range of windows and doors have earned the SCS Indoor Advantage Gold Certification for Indoor Air Quality, by meeting the strictest emission guidelines in the US, making all of their products eligible among all other environmental rating programs – LEED included. Andersen 100 series is one such product range.
The 100 series windows have Andersen’s hallmark feature – energy efficient Low E glass that meet the energy star requirements. Along with this, the windows are partly made from reclaimed wood fibre (40%) and reclaimed glass (12%). However, this doesn’t compromise durability, as the windows are twice as strong and rigid as vinyl. The 100 series windows come in 4 different exterior colours – cocoa bean, terratone, sandtone and white. It offers a combination of sizes, shapes and styles to suit every architectural need.
At Laupen Homes, we’ve been using the cocoa bean windows for a current project in Olympia – the Cooper residence. The best thing about these windows is that they can be painted, an option not available with vinyl. Our experience so far has been great – it makes a great alternative to vinyl and we plan to use it again.
There’s more – Products of the 100 series are eligible for a tax credit of up to $1500 if purchased before 31st December 2010. All customers have to do is preserve the sales receipt and a manufacturer’s certification statement to claim tax credit.
Northwest Eco Builders Guild, South Sound Chapter
The Northwest Eco Building Guild is an association of builders, designers, homeowners, trades people, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in ecologically sustainable building.
At the guild you will find connections, resources and information about growing trends in Green Building and Sustainable Development all around the South Puget Sound area of Washington State.
We invite you to meet us at one of our Monthly Meetings, each with a different guest speaker on a cutting edge Green topic. You will learn about tips, techniques and technologies you can apply to your building project today! Plus, meet some of the leading Eco-Builders and Green Materials Suppliers in our region. Attendance is growing, now usually 40-60 people each month!
Monthly meetings and presentations run from 6:30 until 8:30pm at the Urban Onion Ballroom, 116 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA (across from Sylvester Park)–feel free to come early or stay late to get to know the Eco building community in our area!
To read more about the Eco Building Guild visit the web site at ecobuilding.org
The house is really coming together. The framer has finished the structure and the roof is on. The plumber and the radiant heat contractor have wrapped up the rough-in phase of their work. We have installed the decks for the second level and are now spending our time building all the details like arches and the fireplace surround. Today and Thursday the concrete flat-work crew will be installing our floors. All floors in the house are going to be smooth concrete with colored stain on them. With the floor being all concrete, the radiant heat will make this an extremely comfortable home.
In order to keep fresh air in the house we are installing a heat recovery ventilation system in the attic. This system will bring in fresh air and exhaust the stale air. The unique thing about the system is that it captures the heat from the stale air and uses it to heat the fresh air coming in. By placing the intake ports in the bedrooms and living room and then the exhaust port in the bathrooms and laundry room we move the air through the house and remove moisture at the same time. We will still install bath fans in addition to the heat recovery system, due the the high humidity in our climate.
We have also installed another eight foot high retaining wall in the back of the house to hold back the hillside.