Ice-caps are melting and sea levels are rising. Heads are turning and suddenly climate change is a burning issue. It is not only the current population who has to bear the brunt of environmental problems but the consequences will be felt by later generations too. Believers of climate change are advocating the need to “go green” and both individuals and businesses are responding with eco-friendly solutions. In this regard, the government plays a crucial role in helping the cause by providing various incentives and rebates for people interested in adopting a more environment-friendly lifestyle.
Here are 10 ways government is going to help you go green; in the house, around the office and on the streets.
Alternative sources of generating, while good for the environment, is very expensive to buy and install. You can get 30% federal tax credit for installing solar panel, wind turbines, geothermal pumps or other fossil fuel alternatives. Homeowners can also apply for Power Saver loans, initiated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which promises interests less than the current market rates and the maximum amount is $25,000.
Switching from a conventional electric or gas stove to a biomass stove, which runs on wood or other biodegradable items will get you upto $300 dollars in tax credits. Some states offer even more, for example Maryland offers a rebate of $700 for using pellet burning stove.
Windows, doors and lights
Windows and doors are essential to maintaining the internal temperature of the house and helping avoid unnecessary use of electricity or power. If they exceed the requirements set by Energystar, you might get a tax credit of $500 depending on the cost. Keep that in mind when you are in the store shopping for these the next time.
Reclaimed waste water, or ‘grey water’, can be used in toilets or for irrigation and other non-consumption purposes. Many states offer a tax credit for reclaimed water used in business purposes. Some states even incentivize the purchase of equipment used to reclaim waste water.
You can actually get paid to check your home and its power usage. You will get advices on how to use less energy and also tax credits, even if you do not make the changes. This is mostly offered on a local government level. The Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score program allows homeowners to assess their current power consumption and recommend ways to decrease their carbon footprint. The cost of this audit will be less than half of those offered by private firms.
Electric cars are now the in-thing. Companies like Tesla are trying to come up with new and innovative ways to deliver performance of oil driven engines with their revolutionary electric engines. The main drawback of these hybrid vehicles are that they are comparatively more expensive to buy and maintain and therefore many buyers opt against it. The federal government is trying to subsidize the cost by giving tax credits of upto $7,500.
Public transit incentive
Government, federal and state, are trying to promote the use of public transportation by urging employers to offer pre-tax benefits to employees who do not use their own transportation to commute to office. The federal break allows these employees to reduce their taxable income by almost $255 every month. There are also benefits for parking and some states, such as California, allow workers to “cash-out” their parking benefits if they use other modes of transportation.
Employees can get a reimbursement of up to $20 from the IRS for costs related to biking to work.
With the number of startups and consultants growing, the trend of working from home is also rapidly increasing. The government is doing its part to mobilize this shift. Many of the expenses related to setting up a home office, such as equipment, furniture and some utilities are tax deductible. The IRS also allows you to deduct $5 for every square foot of home space entirely dedicated to work. This is applicable up to 300 sq. ft.
Incentive for businesses
Installation of solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal pumps can get businesses upto 30% tax credit on purchase cost. There is no maximum credit limit. Taxpayers in the commercial, industrial, utility and agricultural sectors are also applicable for this credit.
There’s no doubt that green energy is the future and many new companies such as Josco Energy Corp and RES Group are now emerging to help people make it a reality. Climate change and all its consequences are very real. So going green today can you help save yourself and the future.