Has anyone heard of any news with some hope that Federal Tax Credits for HVAC and insulation will be extended beyond Dec 31 2013? According to energystar.gov, the only measures available for the credit beyond 2013 are for geothermal heat pumps, small wind, and solar.
No & most people that were going to take it already have back when it was $1500 & are locked out now - there might be some legislation it can get tacked onto but I think NAHB will be after the Home Builder one (as I recall it expires also this year)
Remember many of those credits were also intended to fix problems related to rising fossil fuel costs in the mid 2000's and then the "Great Recession" in 2008. Fuel costs have dropped with onset of cheap natural gas - and economy is moving slowly again...
There will be a lot of energy efficiency rebates previously offered by utilities also go away - since some of those also had their basis in the recovery act.
I have long been in the minority, as I believe our government should never have distributed the billions of dollars it did in the form of stimulus to promote what was already the best business model out there. There is a long rant there but I won't go into it.
If the incentives dry up, as they should, it will take a little time for our business model to get back into shape, ie, people will return to looking at how beneficial energy improvements are instead of waiting for the government (or other) to pay the bill. I got really tired of the first question most home owners asked, "what freebies are available"? Not exactly their words, but that is what they were interested in. Remember, no one wants to be viewed as an idiot for paying full price when his/her friends and neighbors got their work at a discount.
Ok, so energy prices have gone down and the economy is looking better, not quite. We might consider things stabilized, but the numbers are still strong for marketing energy improvements. In Maine there are still home owners who will shell out over $4,000 this winter for heating oil. But energy costs are no longer the only issue, IAQ, comfort, health, and a long list of related issues are all reasonably well documented and easy to discuss with our customers.
Every business changes with time. This is just a turn in the road we need to navigate and then step on the gas in a new direction. Remember, 90% of the homes in America still need our help. That includes many that have already seen poor improvements, even new homes that were built wrong.
Tax credits only help people who pay income taxes, and not poor or retired people with out income tax bills....
No planning, policy in America for future energy shortages.
No energy efficiency investment NOW before people go broke and have no money for ever rising utility bills.
No plan for climate change in America. Have to go to China and elsewhere for carbon taxes.
Republicans said "no carbon tax here because China will never tax carbon."
Other countries have policy for energy efficiency, renewables.
In several years they can sell to us when we are more desperate. Meanwhile our energy money flows out of local economies and we buy oil from countries that want to hurt us.
Only give tax breaks to oil companies etc that have big money for politicians campaigns so the companies can get tax credits for their huge profits.
Actually the are tax credits that are useful for the poor and retired people. Look at the 1040 long form and the earned income credits, plenty of credits for pension related activities.... or if using the 1040EZ form many of the same credits are rolled up into a larger deduction.
I have to disagree with Bud. Home many trade shows have we been at -- where we grab small pens, a quick candy snack from a jar at the display, or looked for trinkets to bring home to friends or family. Incentives do work. Very few homeowners have the ability to do a net present value (NPV) calculation. We generally do not leave people to freeze to death in their homes, so there are programs for seniors to help with heating costs. The programs are sometimes by the government (federal, state, local) and sometimes by the utility.
Instead of running the same program year after year to keep the low income individuals from freezing to death, doesn't it make more sense to fix the cause of the problem to begin with and lower the amount that society picks up in future years.
Check with your utilities, the state governments, and various NGO's... there is a lot of money being spent that could be used elsewhere if the homes are brought up to minimal standards.
As for explaining IAQ to a customer.... how many really can explain to you what PM 2.5, PM5.0, PM10 means, or what HCHO is... or how humidity impacts VOC's... If they can't explain it to you - then how can you make an informed business case for the customer? Spend eight hours on a crash course with them for IAQ?