Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Bill is back again this week with some more great info for homeowners in the Metro. I always look forward to these because frankly I am clueless when it comes to home repairs etc..

Energy Tax Credits for Windows

The Energy Star Rating: Is It Good Enough?

The short answer: Yes….and no!

Back in 2007, you could install any Energy Star rated window to qualify for the government energy tax credit. Millions of people had replacement windows installed and took advantage of the pr
ogram. The tax credits expired at the end of 2007 and were not renewed for 2008. Thankfully, they were reinstated for 2009 and 2010.


For 2009, the government changed the rules! No longer is the Energy Star label enough to guarantee you windows qualify for the energy tax credits. A little explanation of the factors involved is warranted. Below is an example of the performance rating label found on all new windows:

The two important ratings here are the U-factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. These are just technical terms for the energy efficiency of the window. This windows IS Energy Star rated! If they were installed in 2007 you would qualify for the tax credit. The new parameters are .30 for each measurement. This window would NOT qualify for the 2009 tax credit!

What do those measurements mean?

U-Factor measures the rate of heat transfer and tells you how well the window insulates. The lower the U-Factor, the better the window insulates. U-Factor values generally range from 0.25 to 1.25

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures the fraction of solar energy admitted and tells you how well the product blocks heat caused by sunlight. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat the window transmits. SHGC is measured on a scale of 0 to 1; values typically range from 0.25 to 0.80.

This change in parameters left many window manufacturers scrambling to meet these new requirements. This resulted in additional testing time as well as increased costs. Basically, since the windows cost more, you have to spend more money to get your tax credit!

Ok, so you replaced your windows this year and your windows DON’T meet the 30/30 standards…are you out of luck? Thankfully, no! We all know how efficient the government can be! They realized, after the fact, that many windows didn’t meet the new standards and gave the industry (and homeowners) are reprieve until June 1, 2009. If you had windows installed before June 1st and they have the Energy Star label, they DO qualify for the tax credits! After June 1st your windows must meet the 30/30 standards….unless they change their minds again!

So how much of a tax credit do I qualify for? Basically for windows, you get 30% of the window price with a maximum tax credit of $1,500.00. So in order to get the full credit, you will spend at least $5,000 on your windows. Many times this isn’t a problem since vinyl replacement windows average around $400-500 installed. With windows, you generally get what you pay for. More money = more features. Be sure to check out your installer to make sure they are qualified to install windows properly. This is one area where you do NOT want to skimp!

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