Energy and Smart Building Industry Blog

Access Tax Cuts for Healthier Buildings Now


The last 12 months have given property managers, building owners, and even construction leaders a lot to consider. Resiliency and efficiency of buildings have been more critical. Security and other concerns have also surfaced, especially when people might not be coming into the office regularly.

HVAC systems, ventilation systems, and more have been front and center this year. And energy efficiency has come back to the forefront as building managers and property owners look for ways to control costs amid a sudden reduction in income.
So how can you best prepare your building for the immediate and future energy challenges? And what tax breaks are there that help manage costs?  

Smarter Buildings Are Healthier Buildings

This year people are concerned about how close they are standing to each other and the quality of the air filtration in the room. That’s led to concerns about ventilation and filtration systems, especially in older buildings. 
With an upgraded HVAC system, you can keep an eye on useful metrics to keep buildings healthy. You can gauge such things as air changes per hour and filtration status. In turn, you can be more proactive about keeping the environment safe and healthy. You may assume the increased energy use means higher costs, but an upgraded system can be economizing as well. 
Another way to keep indoor spaces healthy is to employ a monitoring system to help ensure occupants are physical distancing. Instead of counting people by hand, you can use sensors to better control the number of people in any given area, which improves health and safety while also reducing your costs and labor. Adjusting office layouts with distancing in mind is also beneficial. 

Improve Operational Efficiency

The right systems and strategies increase your building’s operational efficiency. Enhanced monitoring gives you real-time data to better manage energy use remotely. That’s key where occupancy levels are uncertain. As companies continue to shift to online shopping and remote work, buildings may be mostly vacant for long periods. That makes managing energy use more important. With the right systems, you can better control climates in the building. You can create “microclimates”, for example, whereby you only heat those spaces that are in use, instead of heating empty floors or rooms. 

Incentives for Upgrading

Even with the promise of better operational efficiency, healthier environments, and lower costs, you may still hesitate to upgrade your systems. After all, upgrades can come with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, there are plenty of tax incentives right now to help you upgrade or install a new system in your building.   
Under the CARES Act, you can deduct the entirety of your HVAC upgrade or installation in its first year. These tax breaks are an enormous difference from previous years, where you used to have to amortize costs, making an upgrade project right now much more feasible.  
The specific tax codes to consult your accountant or advisors on that the CARES Act affected are Section 179 and 168. These changes make investing in non-residential facility upgrades ideal right now. 

Managing Healthy Buildings

We encourage facility and building managers to check out our recent webinar with PetSmart's Energy & Sustainability Manager. You will learn the process they went through in identifying the best way to keep employees across their 1,600 stores comfortable and safe during COVID. Download the recording to understand their decision to maintain occupied setpoints, even outside of operating hours.   
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