As a green contractor, my clients have been taking advantage of the federal tax credits for energy efficient improvements since 2006. Since then, we've had huge growth in the green building market. Still, it is now 2011, and over 61% (LA Times) of us still are not aware that there are tax credits and local rebates to help cover the cost of upgrading our homes' efficiency.
I am not surprised by the results of this poll and would think that they were higher, based on my experience in the field. Many of our clients are generally aware that by working with us that they will get a tax credit and a rebate. However, only a few of them come to us knowing how much that is going to be.
Are we hiding this information from our clients? Absolutely not! We even have payback calculators and case studies available on our website. We have a page dedicated to all of the rebates that are available in our service areas, yet the phone is not ringing off the hook to go green.
What does it take to get our clients to choose to work with us and “go green”? We have to show them the bottom line. A webpage that tells then that they will get a 30% federal tax credit, a 35% state credits (with a cap of $2,000), a utility rebate of $2200 and municipal rebate of $2000 sounds great but what is the bottom line? When we show them in a spreadsheet how all of the rebates and tax credits can save them from 30%- 80% off of their initial investment, they dive for a pen and sign the contract.
For each of our clients, we focus on the bottom line savings and rebates first so they do not get distracted by the upfront cost. If they make the investment now, they will get the tax credits when they file their taxes the following year and the local rebates are issued within 30-60 days of completion and submittal of all of the paperwork.
One recent client of ours got back 80% of their initial investment back in tax credits and rebates. If everyone was aware that there are ways to get similar amounts back when they make their home more energy efficient, I guarantee that more would be taking advantage of these incentives.
By making energy improvements to your home, not only can you take advantage of the many incentives currently available in your area, you will also be saving money on utility costs as well. With the rebates, the payback is greatly reduced to the point that, as one of our clients put it, “It’s a no-brainer.”