Remember when we said that incentivizing energy efficiency is good tax policy?

It looks like Congress agrees. The recent fiscal cliff deal extended the insulation tax credit that had expired at the end of 2011. Homeowners who make certain energy-efficient improvements to their primary residences will get a federal tax credit for 10% of the materials cost – up to $500. Best of all, the credit is retroactive, so 2012 efficiency projects are eligible, too.

Insulation, exterior windows and doors that meet Energy Star requirements, some roofs, and some heating systems qualify for the tax credit. Homeowners working with Evergreen Home Performance won’t have to worry about calculating their credits; Evergreen will send all customers the materials costs for their projects so they know exactly how much to claim. (Bear with us, 2012 customers: The extension of this credit is a happy surprise, so it’ll take us a little while to organize the paperwork!)

Evergreen will also take care of the paperwork for homeowners claiming Efficiency Maine’s $600 rebate for air sealing and insulation. Taken together, the two programs could mean more than $1000 off the cost of a project that improves home comfort and cuts energy usage.

One caveat: The efficiency tax credit has waxed and waned since it was first introduced in 2006, but the credit applies to cumulative claims. If you’ve already taken a credit for $500, you’re done – but if you’ve only claimed a portion of that, keep going!