Green Tax Credits Boost Incentives

Expanded tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements in the new economic stimulus package are expected to provide additional financial incentive for homeowners to go green on their renovation projects in 2009 and 2010, according to the NAHB Remodelers.

Congressional estimates indicate that the new rules for the tax incentive will increase aggregate remodeling activity by more than $6 billion.

The Internal Revenue Code section 25C tax credit for existing homes, which had expired at the end of 2007, was reinstated as part of the economic rescue package passed by the Bush Administration last fall. However, remodelers found that the terms of the 25C credit — equal to only 10 percent of the cost of each product and with a lifetime cap of $500 — weren’t strong enough to push enough homeowners off the fence and into action.

Now, the credit rate and lifetime cap have been tripled — to 30 percent and $1,500, respectively — the list of eligible improvements expanded, and the deadline for applying has been extended through the end of 2010.


Energy Audit Franchise Launched

Pro Energy Consultants, which bills itself as the nation’s first home energy audit franchise, announced the national launch of its low-cost, home-based franchise concept. Pro Energy Consultants provides homeowners with residential energy auditing designed to maximize the home’s energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Currently, Pro Energy has seven national franchises. Detroit is the latest territory to be awarded to a franchisee and is expected to be open for business in the spring. The company’s growth goals for 2009 include recruiting at least 40 new franchisees, operating in markets throughout the country.

Pro Energy provides technical, operational and marketing support, as well as training. The total initial investment, including the franchisee fee, is $35,000.

Lead Abatement

First Part of EPA Rule Implemented

Contractors performing renovation, repair and painting work that disturb lead-based paint are required (as of December 2008) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide copies of the agency’s information pamphlet, Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers.

This is just the first step in implementing EPA’s lead-safe practices rule issued in 2008, Beginning in April 2010, contractors performing work in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools must complete a training course, be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

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Green Building

Market Projected at $80 Billion

The United States market for green building materials is projected to expand 7.2 percent annually to over $80 billion in 2013, outpacing the growth of building construction expenditures over that period. In 2008 the market generated sales of almost $57 billion, according to a study released by the Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm. Although green building materials are expected to account for an increasing share of materials used, growth will be driven primarily by the recovery of the residential market.

Consumer Financing

GE Money/NKBA to Offer Credit

GE Money and the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) announced a multi-year relationship to provide consumer financing. The Home Design program, a revolving credit program backed by GE Money’s Sales Finance unit, is now available nationwide through NKBA dealer, designer and builder/remodeler members.

Programs are available for both product purchases and customers making purchases that involve a larger kitchen or bath project. The credit program does not require transaction fees on standard sales.

Business Briefs

Suntech and Eagle Sign Agreement

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., a photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, and Eagle Roofing Products have entered into an exclusive distribution agreement for North America. Eagle will distribute SolarBlend roof tiles to its network of roofing, solar, and electrical contractors as part of its Eagle Solar Roof. The SolarBlend roof tiles will be approximately 4 ft. wide, have 50-watt panels, with gray, terra cotta and brown frames. Expected availability of the 50-watt panels is spring of 2009.

ABC Acquires Chesapeake

ABC Supply Co. Inc., one of the largest U.S. wholesale distributors of roofing, siding, windows and other exterior building products, has acquired Chesapeake Siding and Roofing, a wholesale distributor of exterior building products. The transaction includes two locations, one in Chesapeake, Va. and one in Jarvisburg, N.C.