By an overwhelming majority, the Senate voted today to extend tax incentives that would lower the cost for facility executives to install more efficient lighting and HVAC systems in their buildings.

Included in the energy provisions of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008  are incentives to extend the energy-efficient commercial building tax deduction through 2013 benefiting lighting and HVAC products, a decrease in the depreciable life to 10 years of qualifying smart meters and smart-grid technologies installed by a utility, a one-year extension through 2009 of the production tax credit for wind generation, a 30 percent investment tax credit for solar energy and certain fuel cells, and extension through 2009 for a credit to contractors for building energy-efficient homes.
Many of the energy tax incentives in EPAct expire Dec. 31, 2008. Before an extension can become law, the House of Representatives will need to follow suit and pass a similar bill before recessing so that legislation can be sent to President Bush for signature.

Aside from reducing costs to businesses, the incentives also provide a benefit to the lagging contracting, distribution, building construction, and retail sectors of the economy, says the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
In a recent letter sent to Congressional leadership, NEMA President and CEO Evan Gaddis called on Congress "to come together, put partisanship aside, and pass meaningful legislation now."  
Also included in the Senate package is a NEMA-supported retroactive extension and improvement of the domestic research and development tax credit through 2009 which will benefit continued innovation and competitiveness of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers.

The Senate vote was 93-2.