Energy-efficient upgrades aren’t cheap. This is why many property owners shy away from making improvements to their homes. Upgrading to alternative energy, or even purchasing eco-friendly appliances, doesn’t always seem like the most financially sound decision. However, what many property owners don’t realize is that there are dozens of rebates and incentives that can help reduce their costs.
Florida Rebates and Incentives for “Green” Homes
Rebates and incentives vary from one state to another, so it’s best to ask your property management company for the exact programs you can apply for. Below, we’ve compiled some of the green building incentives that you may be interested in:
#1 Revolving Loan Program, Lauderhill
Lauderhill offers interest-free loans through its revolving loan program. Homeowners who purchase Energy Star certified appliances costing anywhere between $400 and $2,000 are qualified for the loan program. Tankless water heaters, solar water heating systems, and solar photovoltaic systems are covered under the program. The loans are payable in one to two years.
#2 Raising Energy Efficiency Program (REEP), Longwood
Homeowners in the City of Longwood can quality for rebates under the Raising Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) program. It applies to owner-occupied residences that undergo improvements that make the home more energy-efficient. It’s important to note that applicants must utilize local contractors, suppliers, etc. in order to qualify. The maximum rebate is set at $500/year per household.
#3 Utility Loans, Tallahassee
The City of Tallahassee Utilities is offering low-interest loans for energy-saving upgrades to both residential and commercial properties. Under the program, customers can borrow as much as $10,000 for energy efficiency improvements. For solar photovoltaic systems and Energy Star roofing, the cap is at $20,000, provided that it is not bundled with other loans.
#4 Residential Conservation Rebate Program, Lakeland
Residential customers in Lakeland may apply for Lakeland Electric’s conservation program. Under the program, customers can avail rebates for heat pumps ($200), HVAC maintenance ($50), water heater timers ($50), and so on. Additionally, customers who schedule an energy audit will receive three complimentary Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) bulbs.
#5 Expedited Green Buildings Process, Miami-Dade County
Miami-Dade County passed the “Expedited Green Buildings Process” ordinance in 2005 to actively promote the construction of environmentally-conscious buildings. It was designed to fast-track the construction of sustainable buildings which have been certified by a rating agency. It applies to commercial, residential, and industrial projects that are located within the unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County.
#6 Orlando Utilities Commission’s Residential Energy Rebate Program, Orlando
The Orlando Utilities Commission’s (OUC) rebate program allows residential customers to receive numerous rebates for energy-efficient upgrades. For instance, customers may receive up to $100 for duct repairs and replacements, and recoup 100% of the cost to purchase an Energy Star rated heat pump. Other eligible upgrades include building insulation, energy-efficient windows, solar screens, and more. Keep in mind that it applies only to single-family homes.
Federal Tax Breaks for Going Solar
If you’ve researched ways to make your rental property more energy-efficient, you might have heard about going solar. Solar energy is one of the more popular forms of alternative energy. Not only are solar photovoltaic systems becoming more and more affordable, but their annual returns range anywhere between 10 to 30 percent.
If you haven’t gone solar yet, it’s something you should consider. Under the Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption, equipment that is used to generate heating and cooling through solar energy is 100% exempted from sales tax. This means that you can save 6% on what you would normally pay. The exemption was scheduled to expire in 2002 but was made permanent in 2005 with the enactment of House Bill No. 805.
On top of that, you can benefit from solar incentives that can reduce your net costs. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a national tax credit that allows you to subtract 26% of the cost of purchasing and installing your solar systems. The amount is deductible from your federal tax return, provided that you have enough income. If you own a solar energy system, you may be eligible for the ITC — so don’t forget to remind your accountant about this when tax season rolls in!
Several other solar incentives are available to you. To find information on the rebates and incentives that you may be eligible for, consider referring to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). If you’ve hired a property manager, he or she will be able to provide you with the federal and state incentives that you can benefit from.
How You Can “Green” Your Property
Aside from going solar, there are other ways in which you can turn your rental property into an eco-friendly abode, such as:
#1 Conduct an energy audit
Utility companies offer energy audits, which are designed to help you pinpoint the particular areas in which improvements can be made. They are conducted by trained energy auditors who will inspect the entire home to assess its overall efficiency. You should consider scheduling an energy audit before making major efficiency upgrades to your home.
#2 Purchase Energy Star appliances
Using energy-efficient water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances can help you save anywhere between 10 to 50 percent. When shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star rating. Appliances that bear its logo are considered more energy-efficient than others. Additionally, you may qualify for certain incentive programs if you purchase Energy Star-rated appliances from eligible vendors.
#3 Upgrade your lighting
Does your property still use incandescent bulbs? If so, you may want to switch to CFLs or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These types of lighting are more energy-efficient and long-lasting. They’re also relatively cheap, making them an excellent investment. Under some state programs, you may even receive light bulbs for free!
By going green, you aren’t just helping the environment — you’re turning your property into one that is appealing to environmentally-conscious tenants. Hence, to get the most benefit, you must look into how you can make your home energy-efficient, along with the programs that will be available to you. By doing so, you can make your property pay you back!
To get the complete information on the tax breaks, rebates, and incentives for going green, hire a property management company. At Luxury Property Care, we keep up-to-date with changes in federal and state legislation to ensure that our clients benefit from all of the incentives available to them.