Building with ICF contributes to a structure’s energy efficiency; a fact that contributes to making a building “greener”. This article describes how ICF construction can contribute to getting tax credits or tax incentives. There are incentives for achieving environmental certifications as well.
For many years, the United States government and some states have offered incentives for building commercial ICF structures, as well as homes. Residential contractors can earn a federal tax credit of $2,000 for each home that reduces heating and cooling costs. While the tax credit has officially expired, homes completed by December 31, 2016 still qualify.
Builders can still use ICF to earn a tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot on commercial buildings that reduce energy use 50% relative to a baseline defined by ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2001. Heating, cooling, lighting, and water heating are evaluated to determine if the building meets the standards.
The most attractive incentive for a homeowner might be the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM). The first step is to search online for EEM lenders. Then one must get the home’s efficiency certified by a professional energy rater. The EEM increases the buyer’s borrowing power by adding estimated energy savings to the borrower’s income. Homeowners may also receive insurance premium reductions due to the increased strength and fire resistance of ICF construction. This is especially important for savings on earthquake insurance and fire insurance.
The LEED program also recognizes ICF structures and awards points for the use of ICF construction. LEED certification considers a variety of factors related to recycling, water conservation, and energy efficiency. According to the ICFMA, the use of ICF in a building’s walls can contribute to 40% possible LEED points in new construction and 20% of a building’s total available LEED score. The same efficiency improvements may qualify a project for other incentives, even in locations where LEED Silver or Gold is not rewarded with a tax credit.
In short, there are many ways to profit from building commercial and residential structures using insulated concrete forms, as their insulating power adds considerably to a building’s energy efficiency.