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Help the Earth and Your Wallet with Green Home Improvements

During this time of the year, many homeowners plan big home improvement projects for the spring. While planning these renovations, it’s important to be aware and take advantage of tax credits offered by the federal government to increase home energy efficiency. Better Business Bureau of Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont (BBB) offers tips for homeowners to save money throughout this process.

“There are many ways to save money and take advantage of tax credits,” said Paula Fleming, Vice President of the local Better Business Bureau. “With careful research, you can easily find the best way to help both the environment and your wallet, while making necessary home improvements.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes several new tax and expanded credits that homeowners can take advantage of while increasing the energy efficiency of their home. Some qualifying improvements include routine work that every homeowner must undertake now and then, such as installing a new roof. However, other qualifying improvements are more involved including installing a wind or solar energy system.

To qualify for tax credits, improvements must typically be made on the owner’s primary residence. Homeowners should keep in mind that just because a product has an ENERGY STAR seal—the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for energy efficient consumer products—it doesn’t mean the purchase qualifies for the tax credit. A full list of qualifying home improvements is available online at:  www.energystar.gov/taxcredits.

BBB offers the following advice for homeowners on finding a business or contractor while saving money with tax credits:

  • Always check the business or contractor out with BBB first. BBB Business Reviews are available online for free at bbb.org/boston. Read reviews from previous customers and see if the business is in good standing.

  • Homeowners should get several estimates for projects and remember that they do not have to use any specific contractor in order to take advantage of the tax credits.

  • Before making any improvements, visit energystar.gov to confirm that the products being used are eligible for the tax credit. Also consider consulting the IRS Web site at irs.gov or a tax professional.

For more advice on finding businesses and services you can trust, visit us at bbb.org/boston.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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