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Green Building News

ACEEE Rates States For Energy-Efficiency Programs

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has ranked all 50 states for the quality of their energy-efficiency programs and policies. California received the highest ranking; in descending order, the next best states are Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey. Maggie Eldridge, an ACEEE research associate, noted, “The top-ranked states are demonstrating great leadership in promoting energy independence with cost-effective energy-efficiency investments.” ACEEE scores states on the quality of their utility-sponsored and state-sponsored energy-efficiency programs, their building energy codes, their appliance efficiency standards, and the energy efficiency of public buildings, among other factors. At the bottom of the list, in descending order, are Arkansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennesse, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alabama, and Wyoming. For more information, visit

Tax Credits For Residential Energy Improvements Leave “Doughnut Hole” For 2008 Work

WASHINGTON, DC — The $700 billion bank bailout bill signed into law by President Bush in October 2008 included a renewal of the homeowner energy-efficiency tax credits originally established in August 2005. (These tax credits were available to homeowners who performed air-sealing work, installed Energy Star windows, installed insulation, or bought an efficient furnace or air conditioner in 2006 and 2007.) While the new bill reinstates tax credits for work performed in 2009, it leaves a one-year gap, with no available tax credits for work performed in 2008. “Congress really left a doughnut hole with this kind of language,” commented Steven Nadel, the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “The package was getting too expensive, so they were trying to find out ways to cut the cost.” Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group, was more blunt. “While Congress was opening up the federal checkbook to provide up to a trillion dollars to Wall Street, they were extremely militant about keeping the cost down of tax breaks for households,” said Slocum. For work performed in 2009, homeowners can receive the following tax credits:

  • Up to $150 for a new efficient furnace.
  • Up to $500 for 10% of the cost of air-sealing work, new insulation, new exterior doors, or new reflective roofing.
  • Up to $300 for a new efficient central air conditioner, heat pump, water heater, or certain biomass stoves.
  • Up to $200 for 10% of the cost of new Energy Star windows.

The maximum tax credit per household is $500. For more information, visit

New Amendments to ASHRAE 62.2

ATLANTA, GA — The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has published four amendments to its standard for residential ventilation, Standard 62.2. The latest version of the standard, “2008 Supplement to Standard 62.2-2007,” includes addenda with the following changes:

  • Standard 62.2 no longer allows homes in mild climates to omit mechanical ventilation. A former provision omitted requirements for mechanical ventilation for homes in mild climates, based on an assumption that homeowners in mild climates usually open windows when necessary. However, recent California research suggests that few homeowners actually open windows, so the exception for mild climates has been eliminated.
  • Homes with attached garages must comply with new air-sealing requirements to prevent infiltration of contaminants from the garage to the home. The addendum directs builders to “Air seal walls, ceilings, and floors that separate garages from occupiable space. To be considered air sealed, all joints, seams, penetrations, openings between door assemblies and their respective jambs and framing, and other sources of air leakage through wall and ceiling assemblies separating the garage from the residence and its attic area shall be caulked, gasketed, weatherstripped, wrapped, or otherwise sealed to limit air movement.”

For more information, visit


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