How Do I Qualify for Green Tax Credits?

There is a lot of talk going on with roofs and green building initiatives. More roofs are seeing energy efficient, cool roof, blue roof and even fully functional green roofs being installed. These roofs greatly help the building reduce its carbon footprint and make for a more overall green conscious building, lowering electrical bills and creating happy healthy areas.

Environmentally conscious and green roofing practices may also have the added benefit of helping out your pocketbook during tax season. Today we want to discuss what kind of tax incentives exist for environmentally sound roofing materials and how you can get these benefits.

How Do I Qualify for Green Tax Credits?

The tax credit is aimed directly at homes that use energy efficient roofing materials, these can be anything from an extensive green roof to reflective Energy-Star materials. The credit may apply to your furnace, air conditioner or other power guzzling appliances but for the purpose of the article we are focusing on roofs.

Typical materials that qualify include reflective coatings on metal roofing or granules on your asphalt shingle that reflect solar energy. To qualify, your roof must meet Energy-Star standards but not all roofs installed with Energy-Star materials qualify for the tax credit.

You may be worried that it is too late to get your roof qualified for these tax credits but there’s good news, many parts of the Residential Energy Efficient Tax Credit can be applied retroactively to new materials dating back to January 1, 2011 as long as the materials came with a useful life warranty of at least 5 years.

How Much Can I Save with this Credit?

The Residential Energy Efficient Tax Credit will pay 10% of the material cost for energy efficient materials up to $500. The credit cannot be applied to the labor cost of the installation. Even if you’ve applied for the credit already you can reapply until your hit the $500 mark.

How Do I Get the Credit?

You need to turn in your federal tax return the year the install was completed along with IRS Form 5695. The credit may then be applied to your current year’s return or added to a future return.

We encourage homeowners who may qualify for the credit to get their money’s worth.

What Do You Know About Green Roofs?

As concerns about the health of the planet grow, some innovative solutions to protecting it have come out as well. One such technology that is by no means new but is seeing a resurgence in popularity is the use of green roofs. Let’s look at what green roofs are, their advantages and their drawbacks.

What is a Green Roof?

Simply put, a green roof is a roof covered by vegetative matter and a growing medium overtop of a waterproof membrane.

There are two main types of green roofs, intensive and extensive. An intensive green roof usually has more planting medium, more vegetation and may require maintenance such as irrigation, pruning and other routine maintenance. An intensive green roof is similar to having a small park on top of the roof. An extensive green roof is much simpler and is designed to be self-sustaining with little to no maintenance.

Advantages of Green Roofs

Green roofs have a number of benefits. Their insulation can lower energy bills, both on air conditioning during the summer and heating during the winter. Some buildings report savings around 25-27 percent on their energy bill. This insulation can also increase the average lifetime of a roof, sometimes up to 200%.

The plant material and planting medium can also help reduce storm water runoff. The roof will absorb precipitation and slowly drain it away rather than dropping it straight onto the ground. This makes it popular in cities with overtaxed sewer systems.

Green roofs also clean the air, attract wildlife and some states and jurisdictions may qualify you for a tax discount for green initiatives.

Disadvantages of Green Roofs

While the final bill will be decided on the extent of how intensive you want your roof, costs for green roofs can be costly. Sometimes two to three the average cost of more traditional materials. You will also need to make sure your roof can support the weight of all the materials that come with a green roofing system.

The building owner will need to decide if a green roof is a viable choice for their building. Continue research and consult with green roofing contractors to find out if it is the right choice for you.

Engineers Using Plastic Bottles for Roofing

There are myriad of roofing materials available for residential and commercial uses. Most people are aware of the more common materials such as asphalt shingles for residential roofs and rubber roofing for commercial use. But many poorer countries across the globe can’t afford to outfit their roofs with these kinds of materials. Luckily, a team of engineers has developed a type of roofing that is easy to produce and plentiful, plastic soda bottles.

David Saiia and a team have developed a type of thatch roofing composed of discarded plastic soda bottles as part of their research and development at the Duquesne Department of Strategic Management & Sustainability.

The method of turning the bottles into a material is relatively simple itself, the tops and the bottom of the bottle are cut off, the body is flattened out then cut into strips, these are all fastened together with an ultra sonic sealing machine.

The material is surprisingly efficient as a replacement for traditional plant material used in thatch roofing. The soda bottles are lightweight, water tight, don’t rot, block wind and noise and let in ambient light. Traditional thatch roofing quickly rot, did not allow much ambient light, and could often leak and even collapse into the dwelling.

Tin roofs are another popular roofing material for impoverished and rural areas and do a good job of blocking wind and rain in developments, but made for stuffy conditions. When direct sun hits tin roofing, it can cause the interior of the home to heat rapidly. The plastic soda bottle thatch is much more breathable than tin.

The developers found an unexpected benefit of the plastic bottle roofing as well. Over time the roofs began to collect dirt which would usually be deemed negative until plant material began to sprout on the roofs. This turned them in green roofs, which carry their own set of benefits such as superior insulation abilities.

The materials to construct the roofs are cheap, easy to construct, and widely available. The engineers promote the use of the material through the program Reuse Everything and hopes the material will be seen more often.