RECOVERY PACKAGE EXTENDS TAX INCENTIVES

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which was passed at the beginning of October, includes provisions for the extension of expired and expiring tax incentives for renewable energy, energy-efficient building upgrades and appliance and equipment purchases. The federal solar-investment tax credit was extended for eight years. Regulated electric utilities looking to diversify their energy mix with solar-electric generation now can take advantage of tax incentives because the legislation includes the removal of a prohibition that previously prevented them from doing so. Another key provision is the extension of the Commercial Building Tax Deduction through 2013, which allows building owners to claim a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for HVAC, lighting or envelope upgrades resulting in 50 percent savings over the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers Inc.’s Standard 90.1-2001, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings.” The legislation also creates new credits for combined heat-and-power-system property, small wind-energy property and geothermal heat-pump systems through 2016. Other key provisions include authorization of $800 million for clean-energy bonds for renewable-energy generation facilities; elimination of the $2,000 monetary cap for residential solar-electric installations for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2008; establishment of provisions for Energy Conservation Bonds issued by states or localities to conduct energy-conservation projects; and extension of a program providing tax-exempt bond status to designated green-building projects on brownfields

FORUM DISCUSSES BUILDINGS’ ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The Washington, D.C.-based National Academies of Sciences’ Federal Facilities Council and International Facility Management Association, Houston, hosted a joint policy forum at the U.S. Capitol in September about efficient energy use in buildings. The third-annual Public Policy Forum presented legislators with emerging issues and best practices relating to sustainability in facility management. Discussion topics included energy-efficient solutions for the built environment, the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions from commercial buildings, and challenges related to creating and supporting sustainable initiatives. For more information, visit www.ifma.org.