Commercial building owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems are now eligible for federal tax incentives under the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, passed by Congress October 3, 2008 as part of the economic recovery package.
WaterFurnace International Vice President of Sales and Marketing Phil Albertson said, “By passing this important piece of legislation, Congress is encouraging the growth of renewable energy and the small businesses across the country that support it.”
The Energy Improvement and Extension Act offers a credit of 10% of the total investment, with no maximum credit, for commercial system installations of ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pump installations. The tax credit for commercial buildings begins with systems installed after Oct. 3, 2008.
Owners can file for the credit by completing the Renewable Energy Credits subsection on their 2008 tax return forms. No proof of purchase is required. However, in case of an audit, owners are encouraged to keep a detailed invoice of their purchase on file. The contractor who sold and installed the product should list the purchase as a “Geothermal Heat Pump” on the invoice and note that the unit “Exceeds requirements of the Energy Star program currently in effect.”
Tim Shields, chairman of the board of WaterFurnace, said, “We believe this incentive will encourage many more business owners to install geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps are made right here in the U.S., and the machines used to put the renewable heat exchangers in the earth are all made right here. Every system installed requires skilled U.S. labor, and more installations mean more jobs. This is truly a homegrown solution to the energy crisis and a very good way to address the financial crisis at the same time. The systems were already growing in popularity, but this stimulus will help us have the impact on the economy and the environment much more quickly.
Geothermal systems tap the free, completely renewable, supply of solar energy stored just a few feel below the Earth’s surface and use that energy to drive heating and cooling system in buildings. In addition to utility, state, and now federal tax incentives that enhance the affordability of geothermal systems, this cost-effective, environmentally friendly technology offers a host of benefits that include:
• Free, renewable supply of solar energy;
• Efficiency ratings up to five times higher than those of ordinary heating and cooling systems;
• Savings on utility bills up to 70%;
• Reduced carbon footprint since the system burns no fossil fuels More even distribution of heating and cooling for improved comfort;
• Improved indoor air quality;
• Quiet operation with no noisy outdoor units to disturb the environment or neighbors;
• Safe operation that requires no open flame or fuel storage tanks;
• Less maintenance; and
• Increased system longevity (an average life span of 24 years vs. 15 for conventional air conditioners and 20 years for fossil fuel furnaces).