2006 - [Sustainable Concepts] Tax Credits and Passive Solar Design
2006, vol. 37
Welcome to the April 2006 newsletter from Design Forward.
Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.
Quote of the Month: "No house should ever be on any hill
or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it,
so hill and house could live together each the happier for
- Frank Lloyd Wright
Lisa Van Veen
Five Elements of Passive Solar Home Design
The following five elements constitute a complete passive
solar home design. Each performs a separate function,
but all five must work together for the design to be
The large glass (window) area through which sunlight
enters the building. Typically, the aperture(s) should
face within 30 degrees of true south and should not
be shaded by other buildings or trees from 9 a.m. to
3 p.m. each day during the heating season.
The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. This
surface—which could be that of a masonry wall, floor,
or partition (phase change material), or that of a water
container—sits in the direct path of sunlight. Sunlight
hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.
The materials that retain or store the heat produced
by sunlight. The difference between the absorber and
thermal mass, although they often form the same wall
or floor, is that the absorber is an exposed surface
whereas thermal mass is the material below or behind
that surface. applications, however, fans, ducts, and
blowers may help with the distribution of heat through
The method by which solar heat circulates from the collection
and storage points to different areas of the house.
A strictly passive design will use the three natural
heat transfer modes—conduction, convection, and radiation—exclusively.
In some applications, however, fans, ducts, and blowers
may help with the distribution of heat through the house.
Roof overhangs can be used to shade the aperture area
during summer months. Other elements that control under-
and/or overheating include electronic sensing devices,
such as a differential thermostat that signals a fan
to turn on; operable vents and dampers that allow or
restrict heat flow; lowemissivity blinds; and awnings.
Article and Picture © EERE
Just in time for tax season - here are a list of federal
tax credits available to you.
Home Improvements - Tax credits are available
for many types of home improvements including adding
insulation, replacement windows, and certain high efficiency
heating and cooling equipment. See chart. The maximum
amount of homeowner credit for all improvements combined
is $500 during the two year period of the tax credit.
This tax credit applies to improvements made from January
1, 2006 through December 31, 2007.
Efficient Cars - Tax credits are available to
buyers of hybrid gasoline-electric, diesel, battery-electric,
alternative fuel, and fuel cell vehicles. The tax credit
amount is based on a formula determined by vehicle weight,
technology, and fuel economy compared to base year models.
These credits are available for vehicles placed in service
starting January 1, 2006. For hybrid and diesel vehicles
made by each manufacturer, the credit will be phased
out over 15 months starting after that manufacturer
has sold 60,000 eligible vehicles. For vehicles made
by manufacturers that have not reached the end of the
phaseout, the credits will end for vehicles placed in
service after December 31, 2010.
Solar Energy Systems - Tax credits are available
for qualified solar water heating and photovoltaic systems.
The credits are available for systems "placed in service"
in 2006 and 2007. The tax credit is for 30 percent of
the cost of the system, up to $2,000. This credit is
not limited to the $500 home improvement cap.
Fuel Cells - There is a consumer tax credit of
up to 30% of the cost (up to $500 per 0.5 kW of capacity
maximum) for installing a "qualified" fuel cell and
microturbine systems. The credits are available for
systems "placed in service" in 2006 and 2007. This credit
is not limited to the $500 home improvement cap.
savings in often thought to be a tradition saved for
the farming communities. But in our modern era, most
countries have keep the tradition of daylight savings
for energy savings. According to the California Energy
"One of the biggest reasons we change our clocks to
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that it saves energy.
Energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting
our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed
and when we get up. Bedtime for most of us is late evening
through the year. When we go to bed, we turn off the
lights and TV.
In the average home, 25 percent of all the electricity
we use is for lighting and small appliances, such as
TVs, VCRs and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed
by lighting and appliances occurs in the evening when
families are home. By moving the clock ahead one hour,
we can cut the amount of electricity we consume each
Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of
Transportation show that we trim the entire country's
electricity usage by about one percent EACH DAY with
Daylight Saving Time."
Don't forget to set your clock forward on April 2nd.
Picture © California Energy Commission
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