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The Energy Wiz Answers Your Questions

Q: Dear Energy Wiz:
I have installed energy saving lights and would like to take advantage of 179D tax deduction for 2013. But before claiming the deduction, must I obtain a certification that the required energy savings will be achieved?


A: Dear Reader:
First of all, this is a tax deduction, and as such, would best be addressed by a tax consultant.  However, two documents (Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2008-14 and IRS Notice 2006-52 ) address this deduction.

This type of tax deduction requires a statement from either a Licensed Engineer, Certified Lighting Efficiency Professional (CLEP) or a "Licensed" electrician (see your tax consultant for details on the definition of a "qualified individual"). 

It is important to note that the use of a qualified software program is not required. Use of only a spreadsheet or other similar software will suffice.  This qualified individual will also need a copy of the ASHRAE 90.1 — 2001.

Details for the required certification from the qualified individual are listed in the IRS Notices linked above.  Once you have your certification of savings, your tax consultant will need to provide you with information on the proper forms to use in taking this deduction.

Sincerely,
The Energy Wiz


Q: Dear Energy Wiz:
Are there any rebates or incentives when replacing a flat commercial roof? If so, what type of roofing requirements?


A: Dear Reader:
There are three possibilities, but these will probably all require that you improve insulation levels as part of the project.

The first is a federal tax deduction of $0.60 per square foot. Now this deduction also depends on the rest of your building envelope, so it may or may not apply. The deduction is available for building retrofits that bring the building to a point that is 30% beyond the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code. You have to do some building computer modeling to claim this credit. There is also an additional $0.60 per square foot for lighting and $0.60 for building mechanical and hot water. If you were very interested in improving your entire building efficiency, you could actually claim an extra $1.80 per square foot deduction.

For details on this federal program go to the DSIRE website. This is a very good site for checking all types of grants and incentives.

If your business is located in a rural community, you might qualify for a USDA Rural Development efficiency grant. For more on this visit the USDA Rural Development website.

Nebraska offers Dollar and Energy Saving Loans for its residents and businesses. This program promotes energy efficiency through low interest loans provided by local participating Nebraska lenders. For more information on this program, please visit the Nebraska Energy Office website. You can find lenders by clicking on the icon; Find Eligible Lenders, at the top of the page. The loan application forms are located in the middle of the page, and will contain instructions and requirements.

For a roofing project to qualify for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, the roof must be leaking and you must either add an additional R-30 to the current insulation, or if the current insulation is damaged and must be removed, then you would be required to replace it with an R-49. You would need to complete Form 2, Door, Window, Wall, and Ceiling Projects Application, Lines 16, 17, or 18, and Form 2 Roofing.

To apply, you simply need to get a bid for the qualifying work you wish to perform, complete the proper application forms, and take your bid and application forms to a participating lender. The lender will submit the project to the Energy Office for review and approval.

Please note, that to remain eligible for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, you may not sign a contract, make a down payment, or otherwise obligate yourself to undertaking the project, until your lender notifies you that it has been approved by the Energy Office.

Sincerely,
The Energy Wiz

Editor's Note:
The staff at the Energy Office respond to many inquiries on a variety of topics from Nebraskans. From time to time, the Quarterly will share some questions — and the answers — with readers.
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