National Mandates For Energy Conservation
Feb. 5, 2009 - (Source: AP Online, by H. Josef Hebert) -- Looking to buy a new furnace or air conditioner or replace drafty windows? Congress may soon give you a break that could save you hundreds of dollars. There's also money to install solar panels for the water heater, or add insulation to the attic -- maybe even put up a small windmill. The $900 billion economic recovery package before Congress includes more than $50 billion in energy-related grants, tax breaks and loan guarantees to spur solar and wind energy development and to cut energy use in everything from government buildings to schools and homes. While the recovery package is touted as a stimulus to create thousands of "green energy" jobs, the average homeowner could be among those who will reap major benefits. Both the House-passed stimulus package and the Senate version include $4.3 billion in tax breaks for residential energy-efficiency improvements including the purchase of more-efficient furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners as well as for energy-tight windows and more insulation.