“We’re Number One!” is a cheer usually heard at sports events, but they’re saying it a lot these days in the research labs and offices at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC).
That’s because FSEC’s widely acclaimed new software that allows homebuilders around the country to easily and accurately take advantage of the new $2,000 federal tax credits for energy-efficient homes has been selected the first – and so far, the only – software listed in the National Registry of accredited Tax Credit Compliance Software. The listing, maintained by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), provides information to builders, energy raters, mortgage brokers, tax analysts and others on RESNET accredited software programs for the new tax rules. It is online at http://www.resnet.us/programs/taxcredit_software/directory.htm .
“This is really a terrific honor,” said FSEC’s deputy director Philip Fairey, who led the team that developed the software. “The new federal tax credits that went into effect this past January provide significant financial incentives for new homes that are energy efficient. The problem is that eligible homes must demonstrate savings by the use of software approved by the IRS in accordance with RESNET guidelines, and there weren’t any usable programs until we developed ours.”
FSEC has operated the EnergyGauge program in Florida since the mid-1990s to help builders rate and certify homes that met state standards. Fairey and others at FSEC built upon that software to develop a program for national use that uses the 2006 HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Reference Home standards and the 2006 NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act) minimum hot water, air conditioner and heat pump standards to perform the tax credit calculations based on home heating and air-conditioning use.
The FSEC program is allowing homebuilders around the country to take advantage of the tax incentives and increase the energy efficiency of their homes. Complete information on the software is available at www.energygauge.com.
The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy areas. For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at (321) 638-1015.