With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in place since February, manufacturers have spent months fleshing out and promoting their tax credit-eligible, energy-efficient product lines. Recently, a new qualified product category has come to light on the softer side of the building materials market: window shades.

Window covering manufacturer Hunter Douglas has recently announced that some of its products, including Duette Architella honeycomb shades qualify for federal tax credits under the ARRA legislation’s insulation guidelines. “The IRS has set up standards by which products can be considered for certification,” explains Jim Mathews, senior vice president of marketing for Hunter Douglas. “Our company has a history of developing products as long as 25 years ago with energy efficiency characteristics, so our tax and legal departments spent a great deal of time looking to determine which of our products might qualify.”

After several months of vetting the products, Hunter Douglas has confirmed that a selection of its window coverings qualify for tax credits qualifications. However, the approval is not without its caveats.

“There are limitations relating to the products and installation when it comes to qualifying for the tax credits,” Mathews explains. “The shades must be mounted in a certain way without protruding from the window case or frame, and there are some fabrics that are not eligible. They also must be used in conjunction with double-glazed windows. We’ve gone to great lengths to spell out all these details on our certification statement.”

Mathews says Duette Architella shades were the result of the company’s research into improving its original honeycomb shades. The product offers a cell-within-a-cell design that boost the R-value to upwards of R-7 without making the shade any bulkier. The shades qualify for a 30% tax credit up to $1,500, not including installation costs. Additionally. Hunter Douglas is currently offering a $25 rebate per unit to help boost consumers’ savings.

“A large percentage – 40 to 50 percent – of the energy in a home escapes through the windows and doors,” Mathews says. “Energy-efficient Windows and window coverings both can reduce this, which helps homeowners save energy especially as we’re going into the winter heating season. The $25 rebate, combined with the federal tax credit and the energy savings the homeowner will see is a three-way savings story.”

Mathews says early feedback shows that dealers are excited about the opportunities to get the word out about the new eligible products, and the company anticipates a marketing push toward the end of this year and into 2010. Visit the Hunter Douglas website to learn more about its tax credit-eligible products.