It’s Time to Close the Tax Loophole that Subsidizes Wasted Energy

Read the full post at GreenerBuildings.

Pretend you are a small business owner. You happen to own the building where your business is housed, which has helped you weather the recession. Things seem to be getting better, and you have the opportunity to make some investments in your company that could really pay off in the long run.

You’d like to figure out how to cut your operating expenses, especially utilities, which have gone up and up and up over the last 10 years. You know your building is pretty old and leaky, and that much of that energy you buy is wasted. You’ve heard the President talk about efficiency retrofits and think that might be a smart investment that will cut your energy bills and pay for itself.

But there is a problem. If you invest in your own building energy efficiency, you will have to pay federal taxes on the value of the investment. If you were to keep wasting energy, all that wasted money would be completely deductible from your taxes.

That’s right; in effect our tax code unintentionally subsidizes wasted energy. Despite the economic benefits (not to mention the domestic job creation and the environmental benefits), investments to create energy-efficient, better buildings do not receive the same treatment under the tax code as wasted energy.

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