Congress Acts On Expiring Cool Roofing Tax Credits...But The Process Wasn't Pretty

By Scott Kriner, Green Metal Consulting

Some say that creating legislation in Washington, DC is like watching how sausage is made. We may like the taste of sausage, but as a kid who was frequently taken to a butcher shop, you DO NOT want to know what goes into that meat product. And if you want to know about what goes into Scrapple (a staple for the Pennsylvania Dutch) it’s even more eye-opening.

Recently, the US Congress passed the 640-page Bipartisan Budget Act, which provides many extenders to previous legislation that had expired at the end of 2016. In essence, the home Energy Tax Credit for Energy Star-certified improvements expired at the end of 2016, but was retroactively restored to the end of 2017. Within those extenders is an extension to the 25C tax incentives as described originally in the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, including federal tax credits and other incentives for energy efficiency improvements made to primary residences, and tax incentives for builders. Most recently, those popular residential energy tax credits–for items such as biomass stoves, HVAC, air circulation, insulation, and gas, oil or propane fuels, to name a few–had run out at the end of 2017 with no hope of extending it at that time. The only federal tax credit that remained for building-related energy efficiency beyond 2017 was for improvements for solar systems, which now remain through December 2021.

The recent passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act puts the federal tax incentives back in play again for cool metal roofing. The requirements remain unchanged from earlier years. This is limited to no more than 10% of the cost up to $500 (not including installation) on metal roofs with appropriate pigment coatings and asphalt roofs with appropriate cooling granules that also meet ENERGY STAR requirements.

The scraps of meats and spices were overflowing in the sausage made on Capitol Hill to get to this most recent agreement. It got so tasty that our lawmakers were giddy over what they had accomplished. Only Congress can be proud to retroactively re-instate tax cuts up to the end of the previous year!

Scott Kriner is the president and founder of Green Metal Consulting Inc. He is a LEED Accredited Professional who began his career in the metal construction industry in 1981. His company is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the California Association of Building Energy Consultants and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

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