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The long-term financial benefits of energy efficient homes are well established. Net Zero Energy homes cost less to own. The biggest financial challenge is the up-front investment for the materials and labor. Fortunately, many utilities and agencies, as well as the federal government, offer financial incentives.

Any U.S. taxpayer or builder is eligible for a 30% Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. This covers photovoltaic (solar electric) systems as well as solar thermal (hot water) systems. There is also a Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit that offers up to $500 for energy efficient equipment upgrades in existing homes.

Next, you’ll need to investigate location specific incentives. There may be income tax credits, low-interest loans, utility rebates and other incentives, depending on the state or utility service territory you live in. You can find these opportunities on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency website. Simply enter a ZIP code or click on the map to see what applies in your area. Be sure to confirm all information with the specific organization offering each incentive. Incentives can change over time and you’ll want to have the most up-to-date information. Additionally, in some cases the incentives go directly to the homebuilder, and in other cases the incentives go to the homebuyer.