Scott Roberts

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) comes at an opportune time for the remodeling industry. Intended to boost the overall economy, the stimulus package also advances energy conservation policy with more than $4 billion dollars earmarked to create, extend, or remove dollar limits on tax credits for energy-related home improvements and renewable energy systems.

But what, exactly, does the legislation say? Do the credits apply only to principal residences? Can owners of condominiums or cooperatives qualify? What about projects completed in the six weeks after the Jan. 1 inception date but before the Feb. 17 signing date? Does the Internal Revenue Service define “cost” to include labor as well as materials? And what kind of documentation is required to claim the credits?

The articles in this special issue answer these and a host of other questions relating to the ARRA. Coverage begins with a detailed description of requirements in three major categories: building envelope (roofing, insulation, and window and door replacement); HVAC systems (boilers and furnaces, biomass stoves, and water heaters); and renewable energy systems (geothermal heat pumps, and solar-, wind-, and fuel cell–powered electricity generators). The chart summarizes requirements for each category, which are treated in more detail in separate sections. Expanded coverage, including IRS rules updates and interpretations, can be found at

Taking It Further

But simply understanding what the law provides is not enough. Several articles in this package are aimed at helping remodelers integrate the ARRA into their day-to-day operations, and to take advantage of the stimulus to assist past customers or attract new business.

That includes making changes to marketing materials and sales presentations; avoiding potential legal liability associated with claims about energy performance and with performing energy-retrofits; and managing subcontractors who may resist using new products and processes.

Of course, none of this matters unless the work itself and the products used are properly documented, so we also explain how to claim the credits, including the latest IRS interpretations of grey areas in the tax law.

Used properly, the ARRA gives remodelers a way to jump-start their businesses while helping their clients to not only save money but create a more energy-efficient future.