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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tax credit for home energy upgrades gets reduced Credits are extended into 2011, but aren’t as much of an incentive

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Forget holiday door-buster sales. For big savings, some homeowners are actually buying themselves new doors for Christmas this year, in time to claim the government’s tax credit for home energy efficiency on their income taxes.

The credit covers energy-efficient doors and windows, insulation, roofs, water heaters, biomass stoves, and heating and air-conditioning systems. And the savings can be big: It covers 30% of the cost of improvements, and taxpayers can get a credit of up to a total $1,500 for all qualifying improvements they’ve made to their principal residences during 2009 and 2010.
Billionaire's holiday gift to neighbors

Holiday light show at the home of hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II in Greenwich, Conn.

The credit expires on Dec. 31. But buried in the legislation that extends tax cuts made while President Bush was in office is also an extension of the home-energy tax credit.

The catch: Next year, that tax credit will be reduced significantly. Read more on what the new tax bill means to you.
Not so generous

In the bill, homeowners can claim only up to $500, said John W. Roth, senior tax analyst for CCH, a Riverwoods, Ill., tax publisher. It’s also a lifetime tax credit, meaning that if you’ve claimed the maximum of $500 in past years for home-efficiency upgrades — beginning after Dec. 31, 2005 — you can’t do it again.

Under the new rules, there are also limits for individual projects. For example, homeowners can receive a maximum of only $200 for replacing their windows and $150 for replacing a furnace, Roth said.

That’s why homeowners who have the means and the time to take advantage of the credit that expires at the end of this year might want to get their projects done now.

Because while it still may be possible to get a credit for work done next year, it won’t be nearly as attractive and might not even be much of an incentive: “If you haven’t taken advantage of this credit, I think you’ve lost a real opportunity,” Roth said.
Crunch time

Some homeowners, operating under the assumption that the tax credits wouldn’t get renewed, have been hustling over the past several weeks to get their projects finished on time.

To qualify for the credit in the 2010 tax year, not only do items need to be purchased, but they also have to be put into use by the deadline, said Rial Moulton, a certified financial planner and co-founder of Retirement & Tax Planning Specialists in Spokane, Wash.

The government “didn’t want people to buy this stuff and have it sitting around,” Moulton said. The purpose of the credit is to make homes more energy efficient, and allowing people to buy items and store them in the garage for a couple years until they got around to installing them would defeat that goal, he says.

While the specification isn’t a big issue for do-it-yourself projects, it can throw a wrench into homeowners’ plans when they need a professional for installation. So at crunch time, part of good comparison shopping on these items involves not only price, but also whether someone would be able to install the items in time.

Even earlier this month, Home Depot /quotes/comstock/13*!hd/quotes/nls/hd (HD 35.21, +0.13, +0.36%) had to inform some customers that certain projects wouldn’t be finished before the credit’s expiration, said Bill Phillips, director of program merchandising for Home Depot’s installation business. It’s not only a scheduling hurdle, he adds: Some projects require more lead time, such as custom windows, which can take weeks to get from the manufacturer.

Other projects, such as adding insulation, are doable for an average do-it-yourselfer, Phillips said. But those planning on doing their own installation should also get going, to be in accordance with the law. In the event you’re audited, you’d have to tell the Internal Revenue Service that you installed the items by the end of the year, Moulton said.
The fine print

To ensure the product qualifies for a tax credit, obtain a copy of the manufacturer’s certification letter that says so, Phillips said. You’ll need that for your records, along with all receipts, in the event that you get audited.

Also be aware that installation costs aren’t covered for all projects. For instance, taxpayers get no credit for the cost of having someone install their insulation, doors, windows or roofs. Costs to install water heaters, biomass stoves and heating and air-conditioning systems, however, are covered, according to

Note that these tax credits are “nonrefundable,” meaning that taxpayers can’t get more back in credits than they pay in federal income tax. That said, for the 2010 tax year, unless you won’t owe anything in taxes, you’d see a benefit, Moulton said.

Also, many taxpayers aren’t aware that a credit gives a “way better benefit than a deduction,” Moulton said. For example, a $1,500 deduction for a married couple in the 15% marginal tax bracket would end up being about a $225 benefit, he says. With a credit, you’d see the benefit of the entire $1,500, he said.

For the more ambitious and green homeowners: A separate 30% credit for other home-efficiency improvements, including solar-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps and wind turbines, is still in effect until 2016. And it doesn’t have a maximum dollar amount.

Amy Hoak is a MarketWatch reporter based in Chicago.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Creatherm launches Facebook & Twitter Fan Pages

Creatherm is pleased to announce the launch of its corporate Facebook and Twitter Fan Pages with an initial focus on promoting events, products and programs to our partners and fans.

This is our first step into the world of social media. The Creatherm Facebook and Twitter pages will provide news and information about Creatherm including timely updates on product launches, special events, trade shows and distributor activities throughout North America.

These sites offer a great way for us to communicate in real time with our customers.

You can follow us at the following links:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Creatherm STYROPOR & NEOPOR Panel on Display At The 2010 GreenBuild Show

Creatherm Radiant Floor Panels On Display At Greenbuild 2010 In the BASF Booth # 201
Creatherm Radiant Floor Panels, manufactured out of BASF Styropor & Neopor EPS, offer a great solution for slab-on-grade snow-melt and retro-fit heating.  The finished floor panel size is 2’x4’ and features a staggered snap-tight grid for optimal tubing spacing.  On-center points exist every 3 inches.  Panels are available in 1.8”, 2.8” and 3.3” thicknesses.
BASF (201)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Creatherm NEOPOR Panel To Be Displayed At CIPHEX WEST EXPO Next Week

Creatherm Radiant Floor Panels
Creatherm Radiant Floor Panels, manufactured out of BASF Neopor EPS, offer a great solution for slab-on-grade snow-melt and retro-fit heating.  The finished floor panel size is 2’x4’ and features a staggered snap-tight grid for optimal tubing spacing.  On-center points exist every 3 inches.  Panels are available in 1.8”, 2.8” and 3.3” thicknesses.
 Creatherm, LLC (430)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mayor Ballard, Ohio Street Neighbors and Businesses Celebrate Environmentally Friendly Components of RebuildIndy Project

Monday, 18 October 2010 10:29
INDIANAPOLIS – Porous concrete and rain gardens are just some of the environmentally friendly components included in the RebuildIndy project on Ohio Street detailed today by Mayor Greg Ballard at a community event at The Nature Conservancy. The project is one of several infrastructure improvements underway across Marion County as part of the City’s recent $55 million infrastructure investment planned for 2010.  This is in addition to the $88 million the City has invested in infrastructure in 2010 already.

“The Ohio Street project is the first of many RebuildIndy projects that will feature environmentally friendly components and emphasizes the priority of my administration on creating a sustainable future for Indianapolis,” said Mayor Ballard. “Through the Office of Sustainability and the RebuildIndy program, I am committed to making Indianapolis one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest.”
Construction underway on Ohio Street includes street resurfacing from West Street to College Avenue and replacement of deteriorated sidewalks and curbs using environmentally friendly porous concrete and installing rain gardens to improve drainage in the area. Ohio Street, particularly from Park Avenue to College Avenue, has suffered continued pavement degradation from poor drainage and subsequent freeze-thaw on the surface. The soil types on the project site were ideal for infiltration, creating a situation well suited for the use of porous concrete sidewalks. This project is the first use by the Department of Public Works (DPW) of porous concrete for sidewalks and monolithic curbs and gutters.

“This project is significant because it allows DPW the opportunity to utilize sustainable infrastructure on multiple levels,” said David Sherman, DPW director. “We’re analyzing everything from the interaction of soil types, surface materials, pollutant sources and infiltration rates to broad policy implications on initial cost, maintenance and life cycle. With input from community development corporations and neighborhood groups, we’ve been able to get a better understanding of what will be genuinely sustainable for the long term.”

The Ohio Street project has relied on partnerships within the neighborhood, including the Cole Noble District Neighborhood Association, Indianapolis Downtown Inc., and local business owners such as The Nature Conservancy, The Buchanan Group and Easley Winery.

“Our neighborhood has been plagued by crumbling sidewalks, deteriorating streets and drainage concerns for decades now,” said Bruce Buchanan, president of the Cole-Noble District Neighborhood Association. “We’re excited about the infrastructure improvements that we’ve seen in our area and the commitment to improve quality of life that Mayor Ballard shares with our association.”

The Ohio Street project will remove an estimated 1.3 million gallons of storm water from the combined sewer system annually, which represents more than 90 percent of the annual rainfall volume for the Ohio Street watershed area.

“This project illustrates the spirit and vision of The Nature Conservancy,” said Mary McConnell, state director  for The Nature Conservancy. “When we decided to invest in this location and in sustainable elements for our building, we hoped it would inspire sustainable practices throughout the area. We’re glad to see that it has.”

Other sustainable DPW projects under way throughout the county now include:
  • Crooked Creek Area Sewer Improvements – DPW will complete construction on a project that will add capacity to infrastructure and eliminate approximately 2,000 septic systems by providing residents with access to the City’s sanitary sewer system. The project also includes construction of porous pavement parking lots and four rain gardens
  • Highland Creek at Troy and Bluff Storm Water Diversion Project – DPW will construct wetlands and divert 80 percent of flood waters from impacted neighborhood streets
  • Springwood Trail Area Channel Improvements – DPW will use natural materials to strengthen channel banks, install erosion control blankets and encourage natural plant growth
Mayor Ballard announced RebuildIndy’s initial $55 million investment in infrastructure projects on Sept. 9, kicking off a variety of infrastructure improvement projects in the county. These projects are all scheduled to start construction in late 2010 or early 2011. The entire $55 million has already been released for bid and more than $35 million in infrastructure improvement projects have already been awarded to contractors. Work is underway across the community, including street resurfacing on Guion Road between 38th Street and 56th Street, 10th Street from I-465 to Girls School Road and walkability and accessibility improvements along Michigan Road.

For more information about the RebuildIndy program, visit To request a RebuildIndy project in your area, call the Mayor’s Action Center at (317) 327-4MAC (4622).