Alice Bell
1 minute read

Two pieces of legislation in the works would expand tax incentives for energy efficiency.

In Congress, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Representatives Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduced the Home Energy Savings Act to expand home energy tax credits and increase tax incentives for homeowners looking to make efficiency-oriented upgrades. The performance standards of eligible products would also get an upgrade.

The energy efficiency tax credit expired at the end of 2017, so the Home Energy Savings Act would reinstate and extend them through 2026. Before the expiration, there was a 10% tax credit available for certain upgrades and a lifetime cap of $500. The legislation would increase the tax credit to 15% and raise the lifetime cap to $1,200 to encourage multiple efficiency-oriented projects and support homeowner investment in other home improvements, such as more efficient hot water heaters, air conditioners and heat pumps.

The same bipartisan group of legislators will introduce the New Home Energy Efficiency Act n the coming weeks, an act that would reinstate the energy efficiency tax credit for new homes that also expired at the end of 2017, and extend it through 2022. The bill would also update the credit to incentivize more efficient homes by increasing the cap from $2,000 to $2,500, as well as update the standards for efficiency in section 45L of the tax code.

Thirty-one percent of U.S. households reported some difficulty in paying energy bills in 2015. Increasing home efficiency allows owners or residents to save money on energy bills while reducing emissions. These bills are supported by more than 30 other industry organizations and nonprofits, including USGBC, along with groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and DuPont; a third of the bill’s supporters are also members of USGBC.