Save on Green Updates for your home in 2011

Whether you already own your home, or are purchasing a new one, there are ways to save BIG when trying to Go Green.  And yes, even in the current economy, it can be done.  Just follow the tax credits, and they will lead you to great savings on efficiency.  You and your home can save both money and the planet at the same time.  And I don’t know about you, but here in the Chapel Hill and Durham North Carolina areas, that makes both us and our homes very happy.

Here are the two most popular tax credits available for making GREEN home improvements. 

1. Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Fuel Cell Tax Credit: This tax credit is available for both existing homes and new construction. Home owners can receive a credit of up to 30 percent off the cost of their improvements, and there is no cap through 2016.  Make sure you make your improvements by December 31st though, if you want to take advantage of the credit for the current tax year.  The following green updates qualify: Geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems, and fuel cells. 

2. Energy Efficient Home Improvements Tax Credit: Receive a 10 percent tax credit for purchases that were “placed in service” between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. According to the National Association of Home Builders: The maximum credit for a taxpayer for all taxable years is $500, and no more than $200 of this credit may be attributed to window costs. This means that taxpayers who have claimed $500 or more of this tax credit in prior years, particularly 2009 and 2010, can no longer participate in the program for 2011.

How do I claim these tax credits?

You can claim the above mentioned energy-efficiency tax credits when you file your income taxes, by simply filling out form 5695.  But remember to consult your tax professional for details, and keep all receipts and records of your energy efficient improvements. 

For more information read these articles by Realtor Mag, and the National Association of Home Builders.