A coalition of manufacturers, advocacy groups, and trade associations representing millions of American workers called on Congress yesterday (Wednesday 1st May) to modernise and extend expired energy efficiency tax incentives.
The move would present a compromise package of updated incentives that would sharply reduce US carbon emissions while creating jobs and saving consumers millions of dollars on energy bills. The coalition, led by the Alliance to Save Energy, includes leading manufacturers of windows, air conditioners, insulation and other components alongside environmental and efficiency advocates such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The tax incentives are aimed at reducing energy intensity in US homes and buildings, which account for 40 percent of US energy consumption, much of it wasted as a result of inefficient equipment and leaky building envelopes.
“Every member of Congress should support this legislation because it unlocks investment, creates jobs, and helps tackle climate change” said Alliance to Save Energy President Jason Hartke. “This is climate policy. It’s jobs policy. It’s energy policy. It’s all of that, with the bonus that it will significantly reduce energy bills for consumers and businesses and create a stronger, more competitive US economy. The fact that we have no direct incentives for energy efficiency in the US tax code is just a gross omission. We’re talking about a huge opportunity to improve equipment, homes and buildings that will be in use for decades, and by failing to incentivise efficiency we are effectively guaranteeing millions of tons of unnecessary carbon emissions every year.”
The proposal – which represents months of stakeholder negotiations – lays out broadly supported improvements to the expired 45L tax incentive for high-efficiency new home construction and the 25C tax incentive for homeowner efficiency improvements, such as installing insulation, replacing windows, or purchasing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. The improvements include strengthening the efficiency level that must be met to receive the incentives, while also increasing the dollar value of the incentives.
The coalition also called for extending the 179D incentive for efficiency improvements in commercial buildings. All three of the incentives expired on 31st December 2017, and without updates include outdated – and in some cases obsolete – efficiency metrics and incentive amounts.
“Now is the perfect time to update important tax incentives that not only drive energy efficiency savings but the manufacturing jobs that go with them” added Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute President and CEO Stephen Yurek. “This is a win-win policy: It is a huge win for consumers who save hard-earned dollars by improving the efficiency of their products, while at the same time, manufacturers continue to lead the world in producing these products and equipment, which increases the good-paying jobs that are helping to keep our economy strong,”