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Up to $7,500 Refund for Energy-Efficient Housing

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A tax rebate for property owners who bought energy-efficient houses passed the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly last night. It would credit those who achieved the six-star energy rating on new construction.

A lot of new homes were built in the borough in 2020, and more will be completed this year. The ordinance would give a tax credit of up to $7,500 for homeowners of some of these new houses.

It comes out of a state law, (Alaska Statutes new Section 17 29.45.049) Alaska House Bill 232, that went into effect in July. It authorizes municipalities to develop an energy efficient construction tax credit program.

Borough Mayor Bryce Ward, who has been a building contractor, says the purpose of the ordinance is to encourage construction at the highest level of energy efficiency.

“In order to improve the quality of life of our residents, lower the cost of heating our homes, and reduce the environmental impact on our community, we are proposing to use the Six-Star energy standard as certified by an eligible rater.”

Language in the ordinance says “the cheapest form of energy is the one that is never consumed.”

Assemblymember Matt Cooper said the ordinance will help the area’s pollution problem.

“Back when the borough was working on Air Quality stuff, a lot of people came to us and said, ‘why don’t you come with a carrot instead of a stick?’ So this was, not entirely, but in part, arose out of that discussion.”

To be eligible for a tax credit, the owner of the property must submit an application before April 1st. Houses built in 2020 would be eligible after they are certified by a professional rater using the Building Energy Efficiency Standards for Alaska.

Assemblymember Jimi Cash says the ordinance would return money to taxpayers.

“Paying the taxes, then applying for a credit to get it back, it’s a one-time thing. And then also, a way to get tax money back into the hands of the residence.”

The ordinance was passed 6-3 and goes into effect immediately.