Create a Federal Incentive for Home Energy Efficiency
Many younger home owners are financially strapped and cannot afford to give their homes energy improvements. Additionally, many people of low income live in buildings which really need energy improvements. Ironically, some have elderly relatives or friends who have money but no longer own a dwelling that they could have been improved under the 2009-2010 home improvement tax credit. Other people of means have already taken advantage of energy innovations for their own homes and yet would like to use their money in a way that would benefit someone else. Why not re-establish a residential energy tax incentive and allow Americans the tax break if they help another person, such as a child or a neighbor, to improve a residential dwelling?
For example, my daughter who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska is age 31 and owns a modest home. There is a window covering which would greatly improve her home’s ability to retain heat at night during periods of deep cold. Her house would leak less heat and use less fuel if she had these window coverings, which are a honeycomb blind which rides in a track. The product was accepted as valid for the 2009-2010 rebate. For less than $1000, she could begin the savings. For $2000 she could probably put these on all her windows and they would be more efficient from the moment of installation forward. If there were an incentive, I would be more likely to help her improve her home’s energy usage by cutting loose $2000 from my savings for the product, which would go into circulation, give some work to someone, and make her home better. It’s a win-win. Money that is now passively resting could go back to work and we would begin addressing the energy losses from buildings which sorely need energy efficiency.
Call it the Parent and Neighbor Energy Conservation Tax Credit!
Church congregations could pool potential donors to create greater combined funds to make some serious changes to needy buildings, something like “Habitat for Humanity” does for new buildings.
If the donors could make a check-off on their tax forms, pools of money could be created for improving homes of perfect strangers. Deserving applicants could be matched up with their money.
Yes, the program would need quality control. But think of all the improvements that were implemented with the 2009-2010 rebate program, improvements which will help the environment, the U.S, and the climate going forward. This program would continue to promote energy savings, move the improvements to homes which sorely need them, and continue to stimulate the businesses related to construction and home improvement.