179D and Other Expired Tax Deductions Are Extended

On Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (HR 5771). This officially extends the section 179D Tax Deduction along with over 50 other expired incentives for individuals and businesses retroactively through the end of 2014.

The Tax Increase and Prevention Act is simply a one-year extension to section 179D Tax Deduction and does not make any technical changes to the 179D Tax Deduction. The following is a clarification of the use of the 179D Tax Deduction and the applicability moving forward.

    In the private sector the 179D Tax Deduction will now be available for projects placed in service from Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2014.

    For public sector designers and contractors looking to have government/public buildings allocate the deduction to their companies, the 179D Tax Deduction will be available for open amendable tax years which for most companies will include projects placed in service from 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014.

    Baseline requirements for the qualification of 179D Tax Deduction will remain 2001 ASHRAE 90.1.

    The qualifying criteria and benefit will remain the same for the 179D Tax Deduction: Buildings will be able to qualify for a maximum of $1.80 per square foot if they achieve a 50 percent reduction in energy cost savings. Partial deductions are still available for lighting, HVAC and building envelope at $0.60 per square foot per category of qualification. The qualifying energy cost savings percentages remain at 25 percent for lighting, 15 percent for HVAC and 10 percent for building envelope.

    179D Tax Deductions under the interim lighting rule are still available for a maximum benefit of $0.60 per square foot and could range between $0.30-$0.60 per square foot for lighting power densities reduction between 25 to 40 percent respectively. Bi-Level switching will still be required when certifying lighting projects under the interim lighting rule.

    No changes were made to the type of building owners who can allocate the 179D Tax Deduction to designers and contractors. The 179D will still be able to be allocated by government owned buildings only. Private owners, non-profits, tribes, etc., will not be able to allocate the 179D Tax Deduction.

    An allocation letter is still required for government/ public agencies to allocate the 179D Tax Deduction to designers and contractors. No changes have been made to the structure or requirement of the 179D Tax Deduction allocation letter.

If you have any projects or a commercial building that you would like reviewed for feasibility of 179D Tax Deduction qualification, visit Walker Reid Strategies.

Solar Racking System Meets Common Rooftop Challenges

Silverback Solar's engineering department was able to utilize as much roof space as possible for solar panels by elevating them above HVAC equipment with the Silverback Solar racking system.

Silverback Solar’s engineering department was able to utilize as much roof space as possible for solar panels by elevating them above HVAC equipment with the Silverback Solar racking system.

A barrel roof with HVAC equipment and skylights is not the ideal platform for a crystalline panel solar system, but a watertight attachment system from Silverback Solar allows architects, engineers and contractors to work with such challenges.

Silverback Solar’s mounting system features a roof attachment system that creates a completely watertight structural mounting point. It also features a patented adjustable sprocket to allow adjustments with the curvature of the roof. The Silverback product is lightweight and durable, which makes the building of the racking easy and faster to install. The ability to adjust the bracing and supports makes the racking very adaptable to varying roof terrains. More importantly, there is no cutting of materials since the racking comes precut and bundled per array, which is also identified per location on the site layout from Silverback.

Each part is labeled alphabetically, so all that is needed is a measuring tape, protractor to confirm the pitch and a 5/16 impact driver to install the self-drilling screws to hold the brackets to the pipe.

Silverback Solar designs, manufactures and distributes engineered racking systems for mounting photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. Solar panel racking systems work on commercial flat and low sloped roofs as well as ground mount applications.

Rooftop Equipment Mounting and Penetrations for Low-slope Standing-seam Metal Roofs

Standing-seam metal roofing offers a durable, sustainable alternative to other roof types and can provide maintenance-free service for five to 10 decades. Sadly, this exceptional lifespan often is sabotaged with the mounting of essential rooftop equipment and ancillary mechanicals.

Metal roofing can make use of special seam-clamping hardware that grips the standing seam without puncturing the membrane. Seam clamps have made metal roofing a preferred roof type for mounting photovoltaic solar arrays. PHOTO: Metal Roof Advisory Group Ltd.

Metal roofing can make use of special seam-clamping hardware that grips the standing seam without puncturing the membrane. Seam clamps have made metal roofing a preferred roof type for mounting photovoltaic solar arrays.

Regardless of the roof type involved, consultants generally agree that the best way to prevent roof-related problems is to clear the rooftop of everything possible and just let it function as a roof—not a mechanical equipment platform. However, such a perfect roof continues to elude us, as it becomes necessary or convenient to mount HVAC equipment, screens to hide it, piping to fuel it, scuttles to access it and walkways to service it. The list of rooftop mountings also may include plumbing vents, satellite dishes, lightning protection, snow retention systems, solar collectors, advertising signage and fall-protection systems to maintain all the foregoing. To help achieve relatively trouble-free roofs, this segment provides some basic understanding of the dos and don’ts in situations where rooftop equipment mounting is requisite.

Penetration-free Attachment

A good “first rule” about any rooftop mounting is to avoid penetrating the membrane whenever possible. While this may seem obvious, the tenet is often violated with standing-seam metal. The norm for attaching things seems to involve anchoring the item to the structure through the roof. When this happens, it not only threatens weather integrity, but can also violate the membrane’s thermal-cycling behavior by inadvertently pinning the panel to the structure. Such a point of attachment will fatigue and fail from forces of thermal expansion within a short time. Fortunately, scores of items and equipment can be securely mounted to metal rooftops without any penetration whatsoever, actually making metal roofing more user-friendly than other roof types.

In terms of mounting ancillaries, metal roofing can use special seam-clamping hardware that grips the standing seam without puncturing the membrane. Unlike many other types of roofing, metal is a rigid, high-tensile material. The seam area creates a beam-like structure that can provide convenient anchorage for walkways, solar arrays, condensing units and gas piping without harming the roof’s weathering characteristics. Mechanicals can be safely and cost-effectively secured to these seam clamps, leaving the roof membrane penetration free. Seam clamps can provide holding strength of up to several thousand pounds on some profiles and gauges, last the life of the roof and preserve thermal-cycling characteristics. Using seam clamps when possible for ancillary mounting will eliminate unwanted holes and other potential problems.

Seam clamps allow even cumbersome ancillary items to be attached to metal roofs without penetrating the rooftop. PHOTO: Metal Roof Advisory Group Ltd.

Seam clamps allow even cumbersome ancillary items to be attached to metal roofs without penetrating the rooftop.

Clamps should be made only of noncorrosive metals—typically, aluminum with stainless-steel mounting hardware. These metals are compatible with virtually anything found on a metal roof, except copper (with which there are dissimilar metallurgy issues). Dissimilar metals in electrolytic contact will induce galvanic corrosion of the less noble metal. In cases involving copper roofing, brass clamps should be used with stainless-steel hardware.

Seam clamps generally integrate with the profile and seam folding, and in some way “pinch” the seam material to anchor them in place. Preferred methods of doing this involve setscrews tightened against the seam causing a detent in the seam material that in turn creates a mechanical interlock of the setscrew, seam and clamp, providing the greatest holding strength and durability. Setscrews should have round, polished points to prevent galling metallic coatings, which can lead to corrosion. In like fashion, and regardless of the method of engagement, any clamp device should avoid any sharp points or nodes that could potentially pierce or gall metallic coatings of steel or cause fatigue and fracture points of other metals.

It also is important to remember that any loads introduced into the clamp will be transferred to the panels and their anchorage to the structure. Consequently, anchorage must be capable of withstanding the added load. The best practice is to utilize clamps that have been appropriately tested for material and seam-specific holding strength; be sure in-service load does not exceed that of the published holding strength, including factors of safety. The roof manufacturer should also be consulted with respect to approval of devices used.

Pages: 1 2 3 4