Being green will produce more $$green$$

By Greg Nagel

Sometimes we have to choose between doing the right thing for the environment and our pocketbook. But thanks to President Obama's stimulus plan, we can have our cake and eat it too.

In basic terms, the American Investment and Recovery Act of 2009 calls for a 30% tax credit up to $1,500 per primary home, starting in tax year 2009, for energy efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters installed in 2009 and 2010. The credit is based on total installed cost, so a $5,000 install would max out the $1,500 credit.

The law extends some previously available tax credits. Find details from the American Institute of Architects on what you can claim on taxes this year. The federal Energy Star site goes into more detail on what products qualify.

Less common equipment can qualify, like electric and geothermal heat pumps, natural hot gas boilers, and circulation fans. Required specs are in this summary developed by the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning industry. More tax credits are available for hydrogen vehicles, solar wind, and other items.

As mentioned in Marjorie Issacson's article, Chicagoan get new furnace rebates Chicago has a "free money rebate" on much of the same equipment. So between the federal tax credits, Chicagoland rebates, and monthly energy savings, there is a pretty compelling financial argument that green is $$green$$.

One final tip: Many installers like to bury high labor costs in the supposed cost of the materials. Therefore, when I work on HVAC on my own development projects, I purchase my own equipment wholesale, then have the installers bid the labor only. The cost savings is quite significant. Feel free to email me and I'd be happy to refer you to sources for wholesale equipment and reputable installers that will bid out labor only.

Local, Global and Green Conference. Learn what opportunities await small businesses March 28 from 9:30 am to 2 pm at the UIC Student Center (750 South Halsted Street). There will also be representatives from local, county, state, and federal small business aid agencies and a small business workshop. For more information please visit: paccgc.org.

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