45 L Federal Tax Credit for Homes & Commercial Buildings (EPACT)
45 L Energy Efficient Homes
Under the provision for energy efficient homes, an eligible contractor who constructs a qualified new energy efficient home may qualify for a credit of up to $2,000. The credit is available for all new homes, including manufactured homes constructed in accordance with the Federal Manufactured Homes Construction and Safety Standards.
The home qualifies for the credit if:
It is located in the United States;
Its construction is substantially completed after August 8, 2005;
It meets the statutory energy saving requirements, and
It is acquired from the eligible contractor after December 31, 2005, and before January 1, 2009, for use as a residence.
In general, to meet the energy saving requirements, a home must be certified to provide a level of heating and cooling energy consumption that is at least 30 to 50 percent in the case of manufactured homes, and 50 percent for other homes below that of a comparable home constructed in accordance with the standards of the 2006 Supplement to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code. It must also have building envelope component improvements providing a level of heating and cooling energy consumption that is at least 10 percent below that of a comparable home.
Manufactured homes can also qualify for the credit by meeting Energy Star standards.
Site-built homes qualify for a $2,000 credit if they reduce energy consumption by 50 percent relative to the International Energy Conservation Code standard.
Manufactured homes qualify for a $1,000 or $2,000 credit depending on the level of energy savings achieved. The guidance provides information about the certification process that a builder must complete to qualify for the credit. The guidance also provides for a public list of software programs that may be used in calculating energy consumption for purposes of obtaining a certification.
This provision offers business taxpayers a deduction of $1.80 per square foot for commercial buildings that achieve a 50% reduction in annual energy cost to the user, compared to a base building defined by the industry standard ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2001. Energy costs refer only to heating, cooling, lighting and water heating, since only these uses are within the scope of the ASHRAE standard and within the control of the building designer. Each of the three energy-using systems of the building — the envelope, the heating, cooling and water heating system, and lighting system — is eligible for one third of the incentive if it meets its share of the whole-building savings goal. Explicit interim compliance procedures are provided for lighting.
Eligible buildings include commercial buildings such as: offices, retail buildings, warehouses, etc., rental housing of four stories or more, and publicly-owned buildings. For publicly-owned buildings, there is an interesting provision allowing the credit to pass through to the "person primarily responsible for designing the building."
New construction in an existing building is also eligible for the tax deduction, with one third of the deduction amount for new construction that affects the new energy-using system (such as lighting or heating, cooling and water heating).