President Obama's new stimulus package is now signed into law. Here's how it affects the green-minded home owner:
1) New incentives and tax credits are now available for households for energy conservation and alternative energy. Homeowners investing in energy-saving insulation, replacement windows, duct seals, or high-efficiency heating and cooling systems can now receive a tax credit worth 30 percent of the upgrade cost (maximum credit value: $1,500). The previous tax credit was 10 percent of an upgrade cost, up to a maximum of $500.
2) If you have been thinking about switching to sustainable energy, now is the time. Solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, and windmills also qualify for a 30 percent tax credit. For example, a $24,000 investment to make a home solar-powered would generate a federal tax credit worth $7,200. Previously, the cap was $2,000 for geothermal and solar; $4,000 for wind. Add state and utility credits to this and consumers will see significant discounts in these purchases.
3) New hybrid cars now qualify for tax credits worth anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500, while plug-in conversion kits for old hybrids, now generate tax credits worth 10 percent of the kit's cost (maximum credit value: $4,000).
For questions about home energy conservation and renewable energy options, you can contact a contractor trained by the federal Home Performance with Energy Star program.