How To Get Your Solar Energy Tax Credit

There are a lot of good reasons to go solar for your home or business. Many Bay Area homeowners have a solar system installed to protect themselves and their families against rising energy rates. While it is difficult to forecast exactly how much electricity costs will rise, or how quickly, one thing is certain – they will continue to go up. Conversely, an investment in solar for your home or business not only decreases or even entirely eliminate monthly electricity costs, it can also increase the property value of a home and lower the operating costs of a business. A third and very important financial incentive is the federal government’s generous solar energy tax credit.

The solar energy tax credit allows a homeowner to reduce the amount of income tax that they would otherwise have to pay the federal government. This credit is good for 30 percent of homeowner’s investment in their solar system, including solar panels, a charge converter, battery, and inverter, but only for the next three years. The credit will drop to 26 percent in 2020, and 22 percent in 2021. After 2021, the solar energy tax credit for residential customers will be eliminated entirely. While there is a chance the credit could be extended, many homeowners considering solar are planning to install their systems within the next few years to take advantage of the credit.

For commercial businesses looking to go more green, they can qualify for up to 70% off with solar tax incentives. Not only will you qualify for a 30% Federal Tax Credit but you can accelerate the depreciation of your solar system over 5 short years. These tax incentives are equivalent to 60%-70% of the system cost, leaving you needing only 3-4 years of energy savings to recover your entire investment.

In addition to the financial benefits of the solar energy tax credit, many people choose to go solar because they feel solar energy is a more environmentally responsible solution. Solar energy is both sustainable and renewable. Solar energy provides a zero-emission way to power buildings, and appliances, heat water, and refuel electric vehicles. The more popular and widespread that rooftop or carport solar panels become, the more they reduce the load on coal-burning power plants.

With buildings accounting for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., going solar can significantly decrease our carbon footprint. A typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year-the equivalent of planting over 100 trees annually. Going solar is not only a great way to go green, but taking advantage of the solar energy tax credit – before it expires – is a great way to save some green.

Garden Apartments

This residential apartment is located on landscaped property that is at ground level. This term loosely describes any apartment on the first floor. It also includes a basement apartment or one in a high rise. If it is a real garden apartment, there will be no household, or apartment, above it. They are spread out horizontally in an open courtyard. You can find these apartments worldwide.

Such an apartment will have one or two bedrooms but you can find some that have three or more bedrooms, especially if they are used as a vacation apartment. The more bedrooms there are the more people they can accommodate when on vacation and renting the apartment. If it is an apartment that is rented out long term it is generally not furnished. If the apartment is rented out on a weekly or monthly basis for vacations, it will be furnished. Garden apartments may also have one or two stories. The common area can include outdoor amenities like a swimming pool, tennis or basketball courts, a spa or clubhouse. The entrance to the apartment could be off the courtyard or the street.

The owners of the garden apartments are responsible for the outdoor area being kept up with the lawn mowed, any outdoor equipment cleaned, clean swimming pool without leaves and other debris, etc. Many owners will plant the area with well cared for trees and floors. If it is an apartment complex and you have a pet you need to find out if there is a special area for the dogs. Make sure that you clean up after your dog once it has finished its business. Your garden apartment may have a small yard or patio. If your garden apartment has either of these two amenities, it would be a good place to have friends and family over for a barbeque.

Each garden apartment is a separate household unit but all of the tenants share any amenities, such as a swimming pool or exercise room and the main outside grounds. The apartments have their own controls for the heat and air conditioning and bathroom and kitchen facilities. In some places, it may be called a walk-up garden apartment because it has an outdoor staircase. With garden apartment complexes that offer premium services like a weight and exercise room or sauna may be charged an extra monthly fee to help with the upkeep and have a key to let them into these facilities. By having a key, it prevents those that choose not to pay the extra fee from using these premium facilities. Some may even have a laundry room for the residents. The rent for a garden apartment would be much the same as a regular apartment but it depends on the location and amenities.

Green Architecture: Changing the Home Design Trends of Today

Whether you are considering a home renovation or exploring designs for a new house, one of the common suggestions that you will get both from architects and engineers is to make it adaptive and earth-friendly. For those who may not be too inclined on the technical details of home designs, “adaptive” and “earth-friendly” are just words, that also often appeal to be expensive and complicated to achieve.

However, with the ever changing trends in home designs, we need to start equipping ourselves with knowledge on economical yet safe home design choices. With this, we will try to look into the basic concepts of earth-friendly and adaptive homes – two concepts that are closely interrelated.

Earth-friendly Home Designs

These designs are born out of the campaigns of several countries for an environment-friendly lifestyle or sustainable living, which of course includes house designs. Along with this, professionals in home construction and design have also innovated their skill set to meeting these new standards.

When we speak of environment-friendly home designs, this has a lot to do with the materials used to build or renovate the house. For instance, some architects have been practicing the use of biodegradable materials in house interiors.

These design techniques closely resemble that of the ancient times, when majority of the house materials come from natural sources. Even the paint products for the house have to be eco-friendly, which is not only safer for the walls, but for the occupants’ health, as well.

Other strategies being applied by architects is the creation of outdoor rooms in the house.

This means using natural light and air to save on energy for the room. All these, along with eco-friendly household practices easily contribute to having an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

Adaptive Home Designs

This type of home design deals with two major things:

1) the ability of the house to adapt to the changing lifestyle of its residents, and 2) ability of the house to adapt and withstand the various environmental changes.

Also operating around the concept of sustainable living, these designs are meant to make the house last longer and the family living in it safer. Common feature of these homes are sturdy lumber and concrete, insulated panels, and dome-shaped ceilings. These type of house built has been proven to be more resistant to storms, tornadoes, and even earthquakes by the Wind Engineering Research Center. With natural calamities hitting the country almost every year, it pays to be keener in the construction materials used for your house.

When it comes to adaptive spaces for home, this is where secret rooms and sliding door comes in. This is also an innovative trend that architects and interior designers are looking into, in order to make a house with limited floor area still spacious enough for a growing family. Aside from choosing space-saver and multi-purpose furniture, it is also important to choose a house design that is easier to renovate in case the need for expansion arises. And this is exactly what your architect mean when they speak of adaptive home design.

Luxury Condos Can Be Eco-Friendly, Too

These days, the ‘green’ label gets thrown around a lot. There’s no end to the list of things advertised as less harmful for the environment than their traditional counterparts. Far from following the trend, the housing industry has long been ahead of the curve. Residential development continues to sit at the forefront of this commitment to green building, with alternative insulation materials going mainstream, solar panels popping up on rooftops across the country, and water-saving technology becoming the norm. But while these additions and renovations can be great, many eco-minded homebuyers don’t realize just how efficient and environmentally friendly it can be to live in multi-unit buildings. Luxury condos are green by their very nature!

The Benefits of Population Density

The more that a single structural element, utility, or appliance can be shared, the more efficient it is. In a luxury condo, a shared wall does what two separate walls would in houses. That translates to half as much building material to construct the wall, whether it’s wood, brick, concrete, etc. It’s also common for utilities to be centralized in a condominium complex, meaning that the hot water heater serves multiple units, a far more efficient use of energy than heating multiple small water heaters. The same holds true for air-conditioning and heating, which benefit from scaling up and serving multiple residences. By combining these functions that would need to be replicated at each individual home, multi-unit homes maximize efficient use of building materials and electricity.

Space to Breathe

On the other side of the equation, minimizing sprawl by sharing structures and appliances leaves more room on the property for outdoor features. Luxury condominiums have a much smaller footprint, on a per-unit basis, than individual homes. This means that the grounds can be larger and more luxurious, with water features and even small community gardens that would not be possible on many small lots.

The Cutting Edge

While luxury condos are, by their very nature, environmentally friendly, developers are increasingly using multi-unit residential construction to push the boundaries of green living. This is owed, at least in part, to the overwhelmingly green values and trends displayed by young, hip urbanites. Young professionals have shown especially significant interest in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for buildings. LEED certification encourages developers to incorporate alternative energy sources like solar panels for electricity or hot water. Another LEED innovation is the use of so-called grey water systems to recycle sink and drain water into the landscape. This water-saving technology is especially popular in the arid West, where drought has forced cities in California and Arizona to mandate cuts in public water.

Today, many homebuyers are interested in spending on environmentally responsible housing choices. Whether it’s a first home or a retirement pad, more and more buyers should look to luxury condos as eco-friendly options.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Green Home

Due to the increased levels of global warming it’s wise to think of buying a green home. Other than saving the environment, a green home also saves you a lot of money by cutting down on the need of many resources. When buying the home you should consider a number of factors such as:

Flooring materials

As rule of thumb you should buy a home with a floor made from renewable or recycled products. These products should be safe to the environment and people. They should also be installed in an eco-friendly manner without causing harmful gas emissions. Some of the best flooring materials that you should go with are:

Cork: cork is made from stripped tree barks thus leaving trees intact. The good side with it is that it’s warm and inviting. To ensure that it lasts for a long time, you should prevent it from coming into contact with water.

Bamboo: bamboo is grass; it’s not wood. The good side with it is that it can be easily nailed, stapled, and glued. It can also be made in different patterns. For the floor to last for a long time, you should ensure that the bamboo is premium and it’s made from adhesives that don’t contain formaldehyde.

Linoleum: linoleum is made from natural raw materials such as renewable wood products, jute, ground limestone, and pine trees. Linoleum floors are stain resistant, biodegradable, and don’t absorb water. The floors are also long lasting as can last for up to 40 years.

Building material

It’s also important to consider the materials used in constructing the house. The best material to go with is salvaged lumber. This is lumber that has been obtained from older homes that are on the verge of collapsing. Salvaged lumber is great because it’s aged to a density and has hardness that you can’t find in new lumber.

Solar energy

You should not buy a home that doesn’t have solar energy. In addition to conserving the environment, solar energy also saves you electricity costs.

Energy-efficient products

If you are buying a fully furnished house, you should consider the energy-efficiency of the electronic devices in the house. You should ensure that the microwaves, dryers, washers, refrigerators, iron boxes, and any other appliances are energy efficient. If they are not, you shouldn’t buy the house.

Conclusion

Flooring materials, building materials, solar energy, and energy-efficient products are the factors that you should consider when buying a green home. To ensure that you buy a high quality home you should buy it from a legitimate real estate company.