Crimson Design & Construction's monthly electronic newsletter is created by a consultant who last year included a story alerting homeowners to federal tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements.

The tax credit was available from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2007 for improvements to primary residences, including Energy Star replacement windows, doors and skylights, insulation, water heaters, and certain high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. Homeowners could receive up to a maximum of $500 for approved improvements over the two-year period.

Immediately after the newsletter was distributed, owner Neil Kristianson began receiving calls from current clients of the Naperville, Ill., company, asking how they could receive the rebate for products in their remodels. Kristianson created separate invoices for products from specification lists. “[Homeowners] don't have to send in the receipt with their taxes,” he says, “but if they were audited, they would need proof.”

Posting the information in its newsletter added to Crimson Design & Construction's credibility. “People felt we were an advocate for them. It makes you a professional,” Kristianson says.