Home owners can save money by using energy efficient and clean energy technologies in their home renovations. Not only do these technologies cost less to operate over time, but there are a number of financial incentives and tax advantages when you include green energy technologies in your home improvement project.
Massachusetts has many financial incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mass Save, a program run by the electric and gas utilities, has long provided significant financial incentives for using energy efficient technologies including lighting, insulation, high-efficiency heating, ventilation, air conditioning and water heating equipment, and windows. Starting in 2019, the program will provide incentives for some new technologies, including cold climate air source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and connected thermostats, as well as a new whole-building performance incentive to encourage very efficient (passive house) and all-electric new construction or significant renovation projects. Mass Save also provides the HEAT loan, a 0% loan of up to $25,000 for energy improvements.
In addition to the utility-run programs, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center offers rebates for clean heating technologies (air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, efficient wood stoves, solar hot water systems), and solar systems. There is also a statewide income tax credit, and in many areas, production-based payments for solar photovoltaic systems under the state’s SMART program.
Finally, the federal tax credit for residential clean energy investments has been extended until at least 2021. This credit covers equipment and installation costs for technologies such as ENERGY STAR appliances, solar PV, solar hot water, geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, and fuel cells. The tax credit has no dollar limit and can be carried forward to future tax years. For projects completed in 2019, the credit amount is 30%, but will decline year after year until 2021, when it is set to expire. Remember to always ask your accountant for specifics around tax issues.
The best way to maximize these financial rewards is to talk with your designer/contractor and incorporate your clean and green energy goals early in the design of your project.
Mass Save Renovations and Additions (https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/residential-rebates/renovations-and-additions/)
Mass Save HEAT Loan (https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/residential-rebates/heat-loan-program/)
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Residential Incentives Information (https://www.masscec.com/get-clean-energy/residential)
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Solar Incentives Information (https://www.masscec.com/solar-incentives-and-programs)
What is a Passive House? (http://www.phius.org/what-is-passive-building)
DSIRE: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org/)
U.S. Department of Energy Federal Tax Credit information (https://www.energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit)
EnergyStar Financial Incentives Information (https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits)
by Arah Schuur