Going Green to Save Green

There are some tempting tax credits available for those homeowners willing to invest in renewable energy. When President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (better known as the Stimulus Bill) back in February, the debate was so huge and the price tag so large that a few things seemed to fall through the cracks. One such item has the potential to benefit a large number of New Hampshire homeowners. The bill includes major federal tax credits - not deductions - for those who make green home improvements and repairs. When the President signed the bill, he both improved upon existing credits and extended them through 2010. June is when Granite Staters emerge, take stock of their homes and start on the to-do list of repairs, additions and improvements. This season think about your drafty windows and doors, wheezing furnace, inadequate insulation or leaky roof and consider fixing them in an environmentally friendly way - it might just pay off. The two types of tax credits are more appealing than ever. The first type, for less expensive improvements, gives you a 30 percent credit for the first $1,500 spent on products such as energy efficient windows and doors, pellet stoves and insulation. For example, if you shivered all winter long and cranked the thermostat thanks to drafty windows, you would receive $450 back on $1,500 spent to replace them with a more energy-efficient variety. Unlike a deduction, the credit is subtracted directly from the bottom line of your tax bill. When it comes to bigger ticket items, such as solar panels, wind energy or geothermal heat pumps, the credit is 30 percent of the total cost with no upper limit. For instance, if you spend $20,000 on a geothermal heating system you receive a tax credit of $6,000. For many homeowners, the benefits for making an investment in renewable energy are threefold - money is saved with reduced energy bills, you're helping to improve the environment and the government is offering, in a sense, an amazing sale on energy-efficient and renewable energy products. The tax credits changed by the Stimulus Bill, plus energy-efficiency specifications and requirements, are explained in full at www.energystar.gov. For information about incentives and programs enacted by the state of New Hampshire, visit http://www.nh.gov/oep/programs/energy/RenewableEnergyIncentives.htm. Here you will find a list of programs that apply to both homeowners, small businesses and farms. NH <b>More Information</b> New Hampshire has a number of vendors and businesses that can help you with everything from purchasing weather stripping to wind energy systems. Listed here are just a few. Planit Green http://planitg.com Hollis (603) 888-4777 or (603) 883-6325 Andersen Windows www.andersenwindows.com Locations throughout New Hampshire Marvin Windows and Doors www.marvin.com Locations throughout New Hampshire Skillings & Sons Inc. (Extensive information on geothermal energy) www.skillingsandsons.com 9 Columbia Dr. Amherst (603) 459-2600 Green Energy Options Geo Solar www.usasolarstore.com 79 Emerald St. Keene (603) 358-3444 Seacoast Energy Alternatives Inc. www.seasolarstore.com 187 Rte. 108 Somersworth (603) 749-9550 WeatherWise Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. www.weatherwisehvac.com Locations throughout New Hampshire Real Green Goods www.realgreengoods.com 35 S. Main St. Concord (603) 224-9700 North Ridge Environmental 209 First N. Tpke Northwood (603) 942-7230 Mts Environmental Inc. 69 Dover Rd. Chichester (603) 789-4557 Smart Associate Environmental 72 N. Main St. Suite 1 Concord (603) 224-7550 Eco-neered www.econeered.com 490 Gulf Rd. Henniker (6030 428-7082 Zetland Homes LLC www.zetland.com Hopkinton (603) 746-3556 or (toll-free) 877-666-0476 Exploring Green www.exploringgreen.com 24 Barr Rd. Alton (603) 556-0634 Garden Artisans LLC www.gardenartisans.net 66 Cotton Hill Rd. Belmont (603) 524-8607 Interiors Green www.interiorsgreen.com 2021 Main St. Bethlehem (603) 616-6499 Green Shopper, LLC www.greenshopper.come Canterbury Ellis Carpet Cleaning www.elliscarpetcleaning.com 786 N. Barnstead Rd. Center Barnstead (603) 776-7343 Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC www.boninarchitects.com 61 Petrin Heights Rd. Claremont (603) 504-6009 New Hampshire All Natural www.NHallnatural.com 228 Loudon Rd. Suites 5 & 6 Concord (6030 748-2920 Sage Living, LLC www.sagelivingllc.com 30A Warren St. Concord (603) 415-1070 Your Home, Your World www.yourhomeyourworld.com 138 N. Main St. Concord (603) 223-9867 Greenman Gardening 71 Park St. Exeter (603) 988-5132 Seacoast Farms http://seacoastcompost.com 59 Columbus Ave. Exeter (603) 722-6490 EcoRug Sisal Rugs www.ecorug.com Greenland (603) 206-6220 Kahn Landscaping LLC www.kahnlandscaping.com 147 Robinson Rd. Hudson (877) 205-1077 Yard Spice http://yardspice.com 45B Derry Rd. Hudson (603) 595-8813 Eco-Logic Homes, LLC www.ecologichomes.com 25 Roxbury St. Keene (603) 283-0298 Leeks & Bounds 2 Cottage Rd. Kensington HealthGoods www.healthgoods.com Manchester (603) 622-2497 OrganicVirtues.com www.OrganicVirtues.com 12 Northbrook Dr. Unit 211 Manchester (603) 682-3625 Pamper Me Clean/Pennies N' Sense www.pampermeclean.com 323 S. Willow St. Manchester (603) 624-7631 Solar Components Corp www.solar-components.com 121 Valley St. Manchester (603) 668-8186 1 World Trading Co. www.1worldtradingco.com 111 Main St. Nashua (603) 881-9111 Shaklee Independent Distributor www.Shaklee.net/Charyn_Sweet 21 Monza Rd. Nashua Environmental Test Products www.etpproducts.com 375 Jaffrey Rd., Rte 202 Peterborough (603) 232-9107 Eco Touch www.ecotouch.net 1500A Lafayette Rd. PMB 424 Portsmouth (603) 305-5745 Extremely Green Gardening Co. www.extremelygreen.com 953 Islington St. Portsmouth Mamacuna Traders www.mamacuna.com 890 Banfield Rd. Portsmouth (6030 436-1748 Pure Barnyard www.CockadoodleDOO.com 210 West Rd. Portsmouth (603) 373-6955 Coastal Style www.coastal-style.com Rye (603) 328-2000 Sundance Solar Products, Inc. www.SundanceSolar.com Warner (603) 456-2020 <hr no shade> New Hampshire Carbon Challenge Take the challenge, improve the environment and shrink your energy bills When faced with immense challenges, such as reducing our country's (and our world's) greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, it can be easy to feel disconnected and powerless as an individual to make any significant impact. Sure, you could swap out some light bulbs and unplug your computer at night, but in the big picture, does it really change anything? The answer, says Julia Dundorf of The New Hampshire Carbon Challenge, is a resounding "yes." The challenge is this: reduce your household's carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 pounds per year. Co-founded by Dundorf and Denise Blaha back in 2006, The New Hampshire Carbon Challenge strives to educate, offer inspiration and support reductions in residential energy consumption. The Challenge is a nonprofit joint initiative with the University of New Hampshire and, as of May, with Clean Air-Cool Planet as well. Joining up with Clean Air-Cool Planet, says Dundorf, is a huge step forward that will allow The Challenge to expand regionally across New England. The Carbon Challenge does two important things - it quickly, via handy online tools, can show you how much energy you consume and a number of ways to reduce your consumption. Then, your energy savings are translated into dollar savings - and those savings are no small thing. "The average person taking the Carbon Challenge is saving over $800 a year doing very easy things," says Dundorf. Taking the online challenge is easy (visit http://carbonchallenge.sr.unh.edu to sign up). Simply plug in how much fuel and electricity you use per year, and then pledge to do things such as change incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents, air-dry dishes after using the dishwasher, unplug old dehumidifiers, put electronics on power strips and turn the strip off when not in use, dry your clothes outside whenever possible, turn down your thermostat in the winter and a number of other easy fixes that won't require huge lifestyle changes. When you're done, you can instantly see how much carbon dioxide you're reducing and how much money that means you're saving. Not only does taking the Carbon Challenge translate improving our environment into tangible dollar amounts, it also connects people to the environment and to their communities. At the moment, Keene and Portsmouth are involved in a competition to see who can reduce their emissions the most. At press time, Keene was ahead. There are a number of ways for communities to enter into challenges - for example, in Rye, classrooms competed in a month-long challenge to see who could have the most participants, the Public Library in Hampstead hosted a challenge complete with raffle prizes and other incentives to sign up and other communities all over the state have their own challenges and competitions. Visit the Challenge's Web site to see which towns rank the highest and the total pounds carbon dioxide reduced to date (12,624,195 pledged at press time). Also, if you're concerned about how much energy is consumed in your workplace, The New Hampshire Carbon Challenge offers training for businesses. Currently they are working with companies such as Stoneyfield Farm Organic, Timberland and more. NH http://carbonchallenge.sr.unh.edu (603) 862-3128 8 College Rd. CSRC Morse Hall, UNH Durham
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