FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2021
Tammy Fiebelkorn, SWEEP
firstname.lastname@example.org | 505-410-3884
[ALBUQUERQUE, NM] – Friday night, the Senate passed House Bill 15 (HB15), which replaces the Sustainable Buildings Tax Credit (SBTC) from 2015. That 2015 tax credit has been instrumental in transforming the market for new buildings in New Mexico. Now, because our New Mexico Energy Conservation Code was recently updated, a new 2021 SBTC needs to be adopted to keep New Mexico public policy up-to-date and to encourage and reward new buildings that substantially increase energy efficiency and sustainability above and beyond the legal requirements of the code.
Now, the bill goes to the Governor for signature. Representative Kristina Ortez (D-42) championed this important bill that will reduce energy use in buildings, lower energy bills for building and homeowners, and help New Mexico reach its climate goals.
Buildings are a leading source of carbon emissions and reducing the energy use in them helps fight climate change, reduces negative community health impacts, and reduces operating expenses for homes and businesses. The 2021 SBTC goes further to incentivize only the best building practices and also incentivizes energy efficiency improvements to existing homes and buildings.
“This legislation will provide so many benefits to New Mexico. Incentives for highly efficient new buildings, coupled with tax credits for improving the efficiency of existing homes and commercial buildings, makes this a comprehensive tax credit that provides immense benefits in terms of reduced energy use, increased buildings safety, and comfort and a big assist for meeting our climate goals” said Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico Representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).
Under HB15, new homes and commercial buildings must be highly efficient, have broadband access, and be electric vehicle (EV)-ready to qualify for the credit. There are extra credits for fully electric buildings and net zero energy, water, and waste buildings. These changes “raise the bar” for qualification for the tax credit. Under the next requirements, new homes and commercial buildings will have to be well above building codes and extremely efficient to claim the tax credit.
For the first time, the SBTC will now include credits for existing buildings and homes. Homeowners or businesses that install Energy Star heat pumps, Energy Star heat pump water heaters, or Energy Star windows and doors that will improve insulation or make their building EV-ready are eligible for tax credits.
Providing tax credits for installation of efficient products in existing homes and commercial buildings will help average New Mexicans lower their monthly energy burden by lowering their utility bills, help fight climate change by reducing the emissions from operating the building or home, and improve community health through reduced health impacts from emissions.
Low-income provisions include double credits, that are refundable, for low-income New Mexicans or affordable housing. This is vital to get the benefits to low-income New Mexicans who would otherwise not be able to improve their home efficiency, comfort, and safety because of the upfront costs of these measures. Again, we need to include low-income New Mexicans in our energy use reduction plans to reach our climate goals.
“Perhaps the most exciting part of this legislation is that it provides double tax credits that are refundable and transferrable to low-income New Mexicans. This gives our low-income neighbors the chance to improve their homes, reduce their energy bills, increase their safety and comfort – all of which would not have been available to them otherwise” said Fiebelkorn.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information, visit swenergy.org.