WASHINGTON - Ellis Guiles of TAG Mechanical in Syracuse, N.Y., testified before a House Small Business Committee on behalf of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) on “The Role of Green Technologies in Spurring Economic Growth.” Guiles’ testimony focused on the expanding demand for higher efficiency HVACR equipment that lowers utility and maintenance costs, improves IAQ, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

“Increased efficiency is the low-hanging fruit in the effort to reduce energy consumption, promote national security, and stimulate the national economy,” he said.

Panelists at this hearing included representatives from the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC).

Each panelist stressed the importance of Congress passing a $50 billion tax package that renews tax incentives for homeowners and building owners who invest in highly efficient technologies, including HVACR equipment.

“Cost is the greatest hurdle to these technologies for homeowners and small businesses,” said Guiles. “The higher efficiency products cost more up front due to higher component costs and installation requirements. However, the initial investment on a high-efficiency appliance earns a shorter payback period with lower lifecycle costs.”

ACCA has urged Congress to extend and expand current and expired tax incentives for making high-efficiency improvements to homes and commercial buildings. These include the $500 tax credit for homeowners who install qualified high-efficiency furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and hot water heaters; and a $1.80/square foot tax deduction to building owners who make a 30 percent improvement to overall building energy use.

In response to panel questions about the tax credits, Guiles said that on the whole, consumers took advantage of them.

“We found that 90 percent of the residential consumers would choose to go with the higher efficiency equipment because the tax credit allowed them to offset the higher costs,” he pointed out. “The consumer said, ‘If I can get the tax credit, why wouldn’t I do this?’ Unfortunately those tax credits lapsed last year.”

For more information, visit www.acca.org.

Publication date:08/04/2008