Builders and remodelers looking for an edge in the current housing market may want to brush up on their energy retrofitting and weatherization skills. That’s because a significant portion of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the stimulus package — passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in February contains major spending provisions and tax cuts intended to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes. In all, more than $20 billion is targeted for investments in energy efficiency (see table, below).

Improvement credits. Under the plan, IRS Section 25C tax credits originally introduced as part of the Energy Policy Act in 2005 and reinstated last fall by the Bush administration have been extended and increased. For existing homes, qualifying improvements — windows and doors, insulation, metal and asphalt roofs, hvac equipment, nonsolar water...

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