Green Buildings and New Technologies.
The cost of fossil fuels (heating oil and natural gas) as well as electricity has soared in recent years. As a consequence of increased costs and government and utility company incentives, interest in domestic energy saving and energy producing technologies has been sparked. Federal and State tax credit may be available for homeowners who install “qualified energy property expenditures and qualified energy efficiency improvements”. Such “improvements” include the installation of major fixtures such as furnaces, water heaters, and energy efficient windows which meet the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code. Information about tax credits for the installation of photo voltaic (PV) technologies (e.g. solar panels) and other qualifying technologies, such as fuel cells and wind turbines can be found at http://www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm and http://www.energystar.gov/ index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index.
The Federal government has established standards for construction technologies, building materials and appliances designed to promote energy efficiency. The installation and use of such practices, materials and appliances qualify a dwelling for the “Energy Star” designation. The Energy Star designation certifies that the products, which may have a higher initial cost will allow the consumer to recover the investment in lower energy costs within a research period of time. Not all Energy Star qualified homes and products qualify for tax credits. However, Energy Star qualified homes and products are intended to be at least 15% more energy efficient that houses built to the specifications of the Massachusetts Building Code.