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Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members The energy-efficiency tax credits and renewable-energy tax credits are better than tax deductions. The allowable credits aren’t just deductible expenses; they represent dollars subtracted directly from your tax bill. While the tax credit program includes illogical rules, the available tax credits can be significant.If you want to claim a tax credit on your 2009 income tax return for energy-efficiency improvements to your home, you should get the improvements installed before the end of the year. There’s really no need to rush, however, since the tax credits will remain available until the end of 2010 — or, in some cases, 2016. Energy-Efficiency CreditsThe energy-efficiency tax credits are available for air-sealing products, insulation, HVAC equipment, water heaters, windows, doors, and roofing. These tax credits were established on February 17, 2009 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — President Obama’s stimulus bill.The following rules apply to the energy-efficiency tax credits:No tax credits are available for energy-efficiency improvements made in 2008. An earlier tax credit program (with different criteria) was available in 2006 and 2007; tax credits received for improvements in 2006 and 2007 are not counted towards the $1,500 limit on tax credits for 2009 and 2010 improvements.Renewable-Energy CreditsThe renewable-energy tax credits — credits for solar hot water systems, solar electric systems, ground-source heat pumps, wind turbines, and fuel cells — are separate from the energy-efficiency tax credits, and have different rules:The Most Bang For Your BuckIf you’re interested in making your home more energy efficient, and maybe claiming a tax credit while you’re at it, where should you start?For most homeowners, the first step should be a home energy audit. Ideally, this audit should be performed by an experienced RESNET-certified or BPI-certified home performance auditor equipped with a blower door. Unfortunately, no federal tax credits are available to cover any portion of the cost… Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in
RELATED CONTENTGBA Encyclopedia: EarthCraft HouseAdvanced Framing Sealed crawl spacesNews:A Green Evolution in Western VirginiaBlog:Green Building Program RoadkillQ&A:A question concerning termite treatments What is a safe termite spray?Sometimes it’s too late to change the specsWe met with our third-party verifier — a great guy who really knew his stuff. While reviewing the Earthcraft checklist, we learned what he would be looking for and how to document what we were doing.Since we had been building custom homes for a number of years, we were already building a pretty good house — for example, we were paying close attention to flashing details. Once again, we were pretty surprised that we had enough points to qualify for a Tier I Earthcraft House without changing our specifications very much beyond the components we had already decided to include: the spray foam, conditioned attic, and sealed crawl space.We were even thinking, “We’re not really learning anything new or improving anything if we don’t end up changing the way we are doing things.” We wanted to try to get to Tier II or III and incorporate some new things in the mix. But by then, construction had already started, and we had used a traditional termite spray on the foundation. Under the Earthcraft program, you can’t achieve Tier II or III certification unless you use an alternative method for controlling termites — so were stuck at a Tier I.Lesson learned: you can’t make it up as you go along! One of the most important aspects of green building is thinking and planning ahead.Tentative steps toward advanced framingI think the biggest thing that we had to change was our framing techniques. Before we started down the green path, we took a great deal of pride in the fact that our homes were overengineered — so incorporating advanced framing techniques was hard for us to handle. Since we had to include three advanced framing techniques to get our certification points, we chose items that didn’t make us uncomfortable. We decided to use ladder “T wall” intersections, two-stud corners, and insulated headers.All of these techniques made sense to us — after all, removing lumber and adding insulation is a good thing. On a large custom home, we did not feel quite as comfortable with single top plates or 24-inch-on-center framing, so we chose not to cross that bridge quite yet.Our first steps towards advanced framing techniques represented a very small bump on our otherwise smooth journey to green.Inviting the public to watchWe intended to use our first EarthCraft house as a tool to educate people about green building. By now we had learned that the green building focuses on the process, the details, and the performance of a home — in other words, things that are hidden behind the walls. We wanted to prove that you could build a traditional-looking house and still build it green.We hosted several groups, walking them through the house during construction. To spread the green news, we also entered the house in the North Carolina Sustainability and Solar Home Tour.A disappointing HERS IndexWe passed all our inspections (including the blower door test and the Duct Blaster test) on the first try. Unfortunately, when our house was only half-built, our third-party rater decided to leave his company. Since his replacement was not nearly as knowledgeable, the verification process wasn’t as smooth as usual during the home stretch.However, these glitches weren’t anything that we couldn’t overcome. It also took a very long time to finally receive our certification — over two months. We never found out whether this was the fault of the verifier or the people at SouthFace who run the Earthcraft program. (I suspect it was our verifier.)Our HERS Index was a 69 — a bit of a disappointment. Since the house incorporated many new expensive techniques, including spray-foam insulation, we were hoping to do a little better than that. The HERS Index of our first certified green home was only slightly better than that of our first Energy Star home.Looking back, instead of installing expensive spray foam in 2×4 walls, we probably should have put the money towards 2×6 exterior walls, increasing the overall R-value of the assembly.Besides the high cost, another drawback of spray foam is the amount of extra foam that is shaved off the wall and ends up in the Dumpster. The scraps end up in a landfill where they remain forever. We were trying to reduce waste and recycle our trash to divert it from the landfill, but we ended up using a product that is inherently wasteful.The extra costs for the closed crawl space, spray foam insulation, certification, and other details added up to about $20,000 more than we typically would have spent.Unfortunately, when it came time to sell the home, nobody seemed all that impressed with our green building certification. That made it hard to charge extra for.We still learned a lot during the process, and overall was a positive experience. But we need to educate the masses.Danny Kelly is a co-owner of Kelly McArdle Construction in Charlotte, North Carolina. Having completed an Energy Star house, we wanted to take the next step in our “walk, jog, run” model. We were ready to jog – we decided to enroll a house in one of the many programs that certifies green homes.By this time, our knowledge had grown, and we felt like we were up to speed on all the new products and techniques of green building. The NAHB had formalized its Green Building Guidelines; we had read them and attended a brief seminar.Trying to decide which program to follow was a tough decision. We thought the LEED for Homes program had the best name recognition, but we were put off by the fact that the program required any fireplace to be equipped with glass doors. We knew none of our customers would want this, and we didn’t want to risk doing something in a spec home that could turn someone off.We decided to build a house that would meet the Earthcraft House certification. We wanted to go the extra mile with this house: we wanted spray foam insulation, a conditioned attic, and closed crawlspace. We were thinking green in a big way! Part 1: The Journey BeginsPart 2: Energy StarPart 3: EarthCraft Part 4: LEED and NGBSPart 5: Comparing the Systems OTHERS IN THIS SERIES
Prashant Kumar Behera, a 41-year-old junior engineer in the Rural Works Division of Odisha’s Malkangiri district is working to ensure that development is on a fast trot in some of the remotest parts of the State. He works in villages located on land cut off by the Balimela reservoir. This region lacks roads to this day, and even surveying is possible only on horseback. So Mr. Behera often borrows a horse from the villagers and sets off on his expeditions. His visits form the ground work for new roads to connect the remote villages. Looking at his method, time stands still for many as horse-borne technical surveys were a feature of the pre-Independence era. 100 isolated villages Nearly 100 villages isolated by the Balimela reservoir are not connected by roads. When the Gurupriya bridge was opened on July 26, 2018, part of this region with 151 villages got linked to the rest of Odisha and became ‘Swabhiman Anchal’ (region of pride). Now, plans are on to build roads under the Setu project of the Odisha government and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana of the Centre, to connect the 100-odd villages. The idea faces opposition from the Maoists, who stalled construction of the Gurupriya bridge for decades. Mr. Behera, posted at Khairaput along with his small team, is conducting surveys for roads in areas where no bike or four-wheeler can go. “For over 15 days a month, I use a horse. The entire region is horse country. Tribals use them for their transport and they are happy to share one,” he said. “When I am unable to return, I stay overnight at a village along with the horse,” he added. “Routes normally used by horses through the hilly forested terrain are less steep, and therefore good candidates for roads,” he explained. The horse-riding engineer also makes notes about drinking water, health and education issues and relays them to those departments. Since Maoists oppose the move, he tries to build public opinion about roads as catalysts of development. As he sees it, more people support new roads than those who oppose them, and so he has never faced a Maoist threat.He and his friends at Malkangiri have also formed a group to add a practical benefit to the surveys. They collect used clothes, blankets and household goods for the needy, and hand them over during visits.
Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side “I’ve always believed that the best way to prepare for a game is to completely be in the present,” Reyes said in the report. “It’s the now that’s going to be important.”The Filipinos hope to use speed to offset China’s edge in size, with Gilas having a fleet-footed backcourt led by Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo.Save for the absence of Blatche and Fajardo, the Philippines is being represented by possibly the best team it could cull, unlike the Chinese and Iran, who are saving their best players for the World Cup Qualifying starting in November.Gilas and China are bracketed with Iraq and Qatar in Group B and to keep on playing, would need to win at least once in the first round.Each group topnotcher will automatically make it to the quarterfinals, while Nos. 2 and 3 will advance to a qualifying round for the quarters.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Christian Standhardinger has taken over the place of Blatche on short notice, and there will be a lot that the6-foot-8 Filipino-German would need to do in order to make Gilas competitive in the continental championship.The Philippines finished second in the last two editions of the Fiba Asia, the first happening in 2013 in Manila and two years ago in Changsha, Hunan province in China.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsIran won the 2013 event, while the Chinese literally maximized homecourt edge two years later to beat the Filipinos in a close contest.Coach Chot Reyes doesn’t want his players to be thinking about that for this game, but was quoted as saying by a TV5 report that “it’s human nature,” for players to recall what happened then. DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Key game up for national squad Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netA Gilas Pilipinas side that is definitely wanting in size gets its Fiba Asia Cup bid going, clashing with defending titlist China Wednesday at Mouhad Nawfai Stadium in Beirut, Lebanon.With Andray Blatche refusing to go and June Mar Fajardo injured, the Filipinos are the definite underdogs in their 6:30 p.m. (Manila time) clash with the Chinese, who had taken just four players from their team that played in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Oympics but still loom as one of the teams to beat in the tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul LATEST STORIES View comments
Downplaying the security apprehensions raised by some participating nations ahead of the Commonwealth Games, Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal today said there is nothing to fear and he is completely satisfied with the arrangements.Dadwal, who is the commanding officer for over one lakh security personnel that would be pressed into action for the sporting extravaganza, took a tour of the Games Village here to take stock of the security arrangements.”I am completely satisfied with the security arrangements. We have been preparing for months now,” Dadwal told PTI. An IPS officer of the 1974 batch, Dadwal assured that security has been completely taken care of and there is nothing to fear.Asked about a recent sting operation carried out by a foreign news channel claiming lack of security, he said, “That was completely bogus. He just shot from outside.” Security has been one of the primary concerns for the Games, scheduled from October 3 to 14.Over one lakh personnel including commandos drawn from the paramilitary forces as well. Helicopters with commandos and unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) would be guarding the air space.Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) teams of the Army as well as the National Disaster Relief Force would also be deployed. Dadwal’s assertions come even as international athletes continue to raise security fears. Some have even pulled out citing safety fears.