New Life for Federal Energy Tax Credits?

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, Green Renovations, In The News

I’ve been following the progress of the big tax bill that’s been inching its way through the Senate the last couple of weeks. I like to keep somewhat informed on current events, because while I believe our legislative system is without a doubt the best in the world, from the outside it can make for entertaining reading at times. I did get a surprise this week when the headline of an article about the tax bill in the Wall Street Journal mentioned energy tax credits.

An Old House Christmas--photo from

An Old House Christmas--photo from

New Federal Energy Tax Credits?

This tax bill, like much of the legislation that moves through Congress, has a lot of small addenda added to appease various groups in hopes of getting a passing vote. Evidently at one point in time, a one year extension of the federal tax credits in place now was a part of this bill. Those are the same tax credits discussed several times in this blog that can be used for up to 30 percent of the cost of various methods of making your old house more energy efficient. The cap on the benefits as it stands now is $1,500. Under the new tax bill–and according to reports–it should pass in the Senate on Wednesday. The available credit amounts have been lowered, but they will still be extended.

The new Federal Energy Tax credits will cover up to 10 percent of the costs of making your old house more energy efficient and have a cap of $500. If you use the credit for new windows that qualify, the cap will be $200. The article doesn’t mention if the same upgrades that were covered in the current credits will be covered by the new legislation, but I would imagine they would. The program isn’t as generous as the current one, but it’s better than nothing. It can still amount to $300 of the cost of a new $3,000 pellet stove.

If You’re Heating Your Old House with Wood this Winter, Buyer Beware

An Old House Christmas--photo from

Christmas Cheer!--photo from

Speaking of energy I had to laugh when I read a recent article in USA Today about firewood buyers getting taken advantage of by sellers. I haven’t had a wood burning fireplace in 20 years, but I can still remember the tricks some firewood sellers used to put over on naive buyers. I don’t think I ever had a pickup truck show up with a cord of wood that didn’t have a tire that looked like it belonged on a tractor-trailer in the bed of the truck under the wood. They must teach that trick in firewood entrepreneur school; the tire makes the wood stack appear to be far more than it actually is and you think you’re getting one very healthy cord of wood. Some things never change.


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  1. 3 Responses  to “New Life for Federal Energy Tax Credits?”

  2. Aug 29, 2011
    Renewable Energy Tax Credits are also available for businesses. There are also special deductions for Commercial Property that have been given a "green" certification.
  3. Roger
    Aug 29, 2011
    Good write up indeed, good to hear there are some tax credits in the bill...Hopefully come 2012 its actual tax cuts for more important things like energy for the middle class instead of giving away so much money to the..higher ups.
  4. Aug 29, 2011
    Nice writeup Conrad. Also included in the bill is an grant program that will allow corporations to receive cash in lieu of an energy tax credit for installing solar energy. Now Old House Web readers might not care too much about this on the surface, but what it means for homeowners is that many financing companies are willing to install solar on your roof at no cost and provide you with discount electricity.