03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Congress Lets Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit Expire

For years now, builders could claim a $2,000 tax credit for building energy efficient homes that met certain above-code requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (or "EPAct") Builders Tax Credit. This tax credit has been effective at incentivizing builders to increase the energy performance of homes and has supported job growth in the home performance industry by promoting the sale of above-code systems and the utilization of home energy raters.

Unlike previous years, this year Congress left for holiday recess without extending this important $2,000 tax credit. Thus, the 2005 EPAct Builders Tax Credit expired on December 31, 2009. The failure of Congress to extend this important energy efficiency tax credit is surprising in light of the extraordinary governmental support of energy efficiency initiatives in 2009. Despite the national groundswell of attention given to energy efficiency and the green energy economy over the last year, the expiration of this tax credit represents a step backwards for the residential energy efficiency movement.

So that's the bad news.

Now here's the good news. Congress is scheduled to return from recess in mid-January 2010 and several residential energy efficiency organizations are gearing up to push for an extension of this important tax credit (and hopefully advocating for additional tax incentives for achieving an above-code Home Energy Rating Score).

While many in Congress have voiced support for legislation that promotes energy efficiency and green job creation, it seems that there are some who do not understand the substantial impact that this tax credit has had in promoting energy efficiency in the residential housing market. We need to make sure Congress understands. It is imperative that builders, energy raters and building professionals let their representatives know how important this tax credit has been to their clients over the last few years and how effectively it has promoted high-performance home construction.

If you haven't already done so, email or call your representatives in Congress and let them know that you support tax credits for builders who build energy efficient homes that demonstrate above-code performance. Not sure what to say? Then just go ahead and forward them this blog post.

If you're a member of Congress who wants a better understanding of how the $2,000 tax credit operates and has worked at promoting residential energy efficiency, give Populus Sustainable Design Consulting a call at 303-325-7650 and we'd be happy to share our experiences with you.

Populus is a full service sustainable design consulting firm that focuses on high performance, net-zero and near-net-zero custom residential and multi-family projects. Populus guides architects and builders through the requirements of mandatory green building codes and optional green home certification programs, providing HERS rating, LEED for Homes Green Rater services and municipal energy code consulting. In addition, Populus offers an Energy Code Workshop for architects and municipalities, as well as LEED for Homes training. Visit Populus at