WASHINGTON, DC — The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) applauded passage of the Senate energy bill, saying that the legislation will help American homeowners, renters, and buyers conserve energy and save hundreds of dollars in utility costs. The association also urged lawmakers to adopt the broader measures included in the House energy bill to provide a greater incentive to increase energy efficiency in the housing market.

“NAHB believes that the consumer-friendly tax credit provisions in the Senate energy bill will promote energy conservation in new and existing homes, reduce the nation's energy dependence, and lower energy costs for American homeowners and renters for decades,” said Gary Garczynski, president of the NAHB.

“However, energy legislation passed last year by the House of Representatives provides a significantly enhanced tax benefit for homeowners and renters, which we believe would enable more households to engage in voluntary measures to conserve energy,” he added. “The House energy bill would also encourage more builders to seek technological advances that increase energy efficiency without adding costs for new home buyers. We hope that lawmakers consider these advantages as the bill now proceeds to a House-Senate conference.”

The Senate energy bill provides consumers a tax credit of up to $300 on projects that improve energy efficiency in existing homes, while the House bill includes a significantly enhanced tax incentive for homeowners and renters — up to $2,000 on the cost of qualifying remodeling projects that improve energy efficiency.

“Older, existing homes are much less energy efficient, and can provide immense energy savings if homeowners are given effective incentives,” Garczynski stated. “With over 100 million homes in America, improving the energy efficiency levels of existing homes can provide the lion's share of needed energy conservation.”

The Senate bill would provide builders with a tax credit of $1,250 for each home built to 30% above the energy efficiency levels included in the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code. The House legislation offers a $2,000 tax credit for each home built to 30% above the code.

For rental properties, both bills include a tax deduction of $2.25 per square foot for buildings that are 50% more efficient than American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. This incentive would help increase energy conservation efforts for multifamily residential buildings and low-income dwellings, commented Garczynski.

“While both bills will clearly encourage more green building and energy efficiency in the home building industry and among housing consumers,” he said, “we encourage House-Senate conferees to adopt the housing energy provisions included in the House-passed bill, which are clearly better for moving energy efficiency into the housing market and upgrading the quality of housing and the environment.”

Publication date: 04/29/2002