The recently passed federal stimulus plan triples the tax credit for many home improvements that increase a home’s energy efficiency. The credit will now pay for up to 30% the cost of windows, outside doors, metal or asphalt roofs, heating/cooling equipment, and fuel cell batteries. To see what improvements qualify, see www.energystar.gov/. Also, 150 California cities offer energy rebates, so take a look at //www.dsireusa.org/ to see what other energy incentives you might be entitled to.

First tuesday take: Right now, builders need work just to keep their employees and break even financially during this recession. Homeowners with the ability to pay for home improvements (as most are) will be able to reduce their federal income taxes for around 30% the costs, and the costs of the contractors will be much lower than usual. Social efficiency at work, at last.

For more information about improving energy efficiency, readers should examine the California Energy Commission’s Home Energy Booklet: Raise Your Energy IQ.

Re: “Big tax breaks for energy efficiency”, from the San Francisco Gate