Coalition for Energy-Efficient Homes Tax Proposal Bolsters Environmental Protection
As Americans recognize Earth Day, a group in Congress is advancing a tax proposal that forecasters predict could significantly cut the more than 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide generated annually by the average household. If enacted, sponsors on both sides of the aisle predict the Energy Efficient Affordable Homes Act of 1999 (H.R. 1358) will result in long-term energy savings, environmental benefits and cost savings for homeowners and homebuilders who raise the energy efficiency of residential buildings.
The Act provides tax credits to homeowners who upgrade the energy efficiency of their existing homes or homebuilders constructing new, energy efficient homes. Homeowners who upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes by 30 percent or more will receive a tax credit of 20 percent of the cost of retrofitting their home, up to $2,000. Homebuilders who construct energy efficient new homes exceeding the 1998 International Energy Conservation Code by 30 percent or more also will qualify for the $2,000 tax credit. Relatively simple home improvements such as added insulation, window replacement or energy efficient heating and cooling equipment upgrades can help homeowners qualify for the tax credit. Simultaneously, these energy efficiency improvements will help the environment by curbing energy use and CO2 emissions.
Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) introduced H.R. 1358 in March 1999. Aiding Rep. Thomas and the bipartisan co-sponsors who have lined up behind the bill is the Coalition for Energy Efficient Homes, a Washington-based consortium of corporations, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations that support tax incentives to upgrade the energy efficiency of America's housing stock. Principal among the founders of the Coalition is the Alliance to Save Energy.
Alliance President David M. Nemtzow notes that every kilowatt-hour of electricity saved prevents more than one and one-half pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. The energy required to operate the average home produces an estimated 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually, a figure that will markedly decline if the public adopts more energy efficiency improvements.
"As Earth Day kicks off the year-long focus on energy and the environment leading into Earth Day 2000, it is a good time to reinforce the connection between energy production, energy use and pollution in the minds of the public," said Nemtzow. "Home energy efficiency benefits homeowners, the nation and the environment. This legislation provides the incentive for people to act on this knowledge and do what's right," Nemtzow added.
George Phelps, Director of Government and Industry Affairs for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), another founder of the Coalition said, "The use of existing energy efficient technologies and products is key to achieving emissions reduction goals and to saving energy and reducing utility bills."
By increasing the energy efficiency of the nation's housing stock, the Energy Efficient Affordable Homes Act of 1999 has the potential to:
- Decrease energy consumption
- Reduce carbon emissions and pollution
- Decrease homeowners' utility bills and allow consumers greater savings
- Foster the development and use of more cost-effective energy efficient technologies by increasing the demand for energy efficient homes
- Increase occupant comfort through energy efficiency
For more information, contact Catherine Imus at 703/684-0084. Information about H.R. 1358, including the text of the proposed legislation, is available on the internet at http://thomas.loc.gov. Organizations interested in joining the Coalition for Energy Efficient Homes may contact Susan Petniunas at 703-379-6444. Support H.R. 1358 With a Letter to Your Representative!
Members of The Coalition for Energy Efficient Homes include:
Alliance to Save Energy
American Rockwool, Inc.
Apache Products Company
Atlas Roofing Corporation
Edison Electric Institute
Evanite Fiber Corporation
Firestone Building Products Co.
Knauf Fiber Glass
National American Indian Housing Council
National Association of Home Builders
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association
Portland Cement Alliance
Rock Wool Manufacturing Co.
Society of the Plastics Industry
Sloss Industries Corporation
USG Interiors, Inc.
Western Fiberglass Group