Coalition Petitions for Energy Efficient Tax Incentives

In a letter addressed to Congress, a coalition of manufacturers, advocacy groups and trade associations petitioned national leaders to update and reinstate energy efficiency tax incentives which expired two years ago. In early May, the group, which includes window, air conditioner and insulation manufacturers, presented Congress a proposed list of incentives it said would both modernize and improve expired incentives. If extended, the group suggests the incentives would save energy, create jobs and reduce the country’s carbon emissions.

In a news release from the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), the group leading the charge, the nonprofit said, “The tax incentives are aimed at reducing energy intensity in U.S. homes and buildings, which account for 40% of U.S. energy consumption, much of it wasted as a result of inefficient equipment and leaky building envelopes.”

ASE’s efforts are joined by those of other environmental and efficiency groups, like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Andersen Windows and Doors, along with ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council, Covestro LLC and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (which recently installed dynamic glazing), are also part of the coalition.

“Every member of Congress should support this legislation because it unlocks investment, creates jobs and helps tackle climate change,” said ASE president Jason Hartke. “This is climate policy. It’s jobs policy. It’s energy policy. It’s all of that, with the bonus that it will significantly reduce energy bills for consumers and businesses and create a stronger, more competitive U.S. economy.”

In its request for modern and extended tax incentives, the group urges Congress to “address it as quickly as possible,” calling the effort a “bipartisan opportunity that would accomplish a number of shared goals.”

Specifically, the coalition addresses three expired energy efficiency incentives:
Section 179D Commercial Building Tax Deduction – The provision provides a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot to help offset some of the costs of energy-efficient components and systems for commercial and large multifamily buildings.
Section 25C Homeowner Efficiency Credit – This provision provides a 10% tax credit (lifetime cap of $500) to homeowners for energy efficiency improvements, including envelope improvements.
Section 45L Energy Efficient Home Credit – Currently, this incentive provides a $2,000 credit for builders that use 50% less energy (than 2016 building codes) for space heating and cooling within new and manufactured homes and a $1,000 tax credit to the builder for manufactured homes achieving 30% energy savings for heating and cooling or a manufactured home that meets ENERGY STAR requirements.

All three of the incentives expired December 31, 2017.

Among the updates is a proposal for multi-year extension of 179D for commercial building efficiency improvements. Meanwhile, proposed improvements to 45L and 25C “include strengthening the efficiency level that must be met to receive the incentives, while also increasing the dollar value of the incentives.”

Within the proposed language for 45L, the group suggests raising the maximum credit to $2,500 for buildings that meet the 2015 IECC building requirements and are certified as fitting the Energy Rating Index. The group also requests the incentive include a $1,000 credit for homes and manufactured homes that meet ENERGY STAR requirements.

For existing homes (incentive 25C), the coalition suggests raising the maximum credit from 10% to 15%, with a maximum lifetime credit of $1,200. While the current language provides a $200 cap for windows and skylights and $500 for doors that are ENERGY STAR 6.0 compliant, under the proposed language ENERGY STAR Most Efficient windows would receive a $600 credit.

Without having energy efficient incentives, the group states “we are locking in unnecessary waste and carbon emissions for decades to come while also weakening U.S. economic productivity and competitiveness.” According to the Environmental Entrepreneurs, there are 2.3 million energy efficiency jobs in the country and that number is expected to grow this year.

DOE Offers $33.5 Million for Energy-Efficient Research and Development

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will offer up to $33.5 million in funding for the research and development of projects aimed at reducing energy bills through advanced building construction techniques, including energy efficient glazing technology. According to the DOE, commercial and residential buildings account for approximately 40% of the nation’s total energy demand, costing more than $380 billion in energy annually. Through the latest funding opportunity, officials for the department say they hope to find energy-efficient technologies that can apply to both new and existing commercial and residential buildings.

While an ideal project would address a combination of issues across areas such as heating, cooling, the building envelope, water heating and ventilation, funding applications should focus on one of three topics:

Advanced Technology Integration: including projects that concentrate on taking technologies from the laboratory to the field, in order to meet national, regional, state and local needs. Energy savings methods in this category focus on workforce training, service delivery methods and field validation of new technologies and building practices.
Integrated Building Retrofits: which concentrate on existing buildings, including technologies that aim to achieve greater energy-efficiency through combined space heating and cooling systems, hot water systems and light and durable, highly-insulated panels. The goal under this topic is to achieve 75% energy reductions.
New Construction Technologies: which focus on innovative approaches to a building’s design, construction and installation. Through advancements in robotics, digitalization, off-site manufacturing, improved modeling and automation, the goal for projects within this topic is to make buildings and homes 50% more energy efficient than current code requirements.

Funding for projects is issued through the DOE’s Building Technology Office (BTO). Through research and development, the BTO aims to find new, energy-efficient technologies while improving the efficiency of current technologies to help the department realize its goal for reducing the energy use of U.S. buildings by 30% by 2030.

The DOE’s subprogram for Emerging Technologies in building envelopes and windows includes a focus on next-generation fenestration products. At the department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), researchers conduct research and development, as well as provide testing and demonstrations for products before commercialization. In recent years, the laboratory has conducted tests on low-cost nano-structured smart window coatings—a project that received $1,150,000 in DOE funding.

According to information published by DOE, since 1983, its NREL researchers have worked to develop “smart” windows, including a “neutral-colored dynamic glass solution that seeks to achieve cost neutrality with conventional window solutions.”

Other emerging technologies that the BTO programs are currently dedicated to include: HVAC, water heating and appliances; solid-state lighting; building energy modeling; sensors and controls; and buildings-to-grid integration.

NSG Receives Japan’s First EPD for Architectural Glass Products

NSG Group has received Japan’s first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for architectural glass products, including float glass, double-layered glass, laminated glass and tempered glass. The EPD was issued by UL, an international certification organization in the U.S.

Harmonized with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) the EPD describes the product’s environmental impacts from mining of raw material to product shipment.

A release from NSG says that the company will continue its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the glass manufacturing process while improving the environmental performance of buildings through a wide range of architectural glass products.

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