Sales tax holiday for energy- and water-efficient products slated for Oct. 2-5

22 09 2008

Rome News-Tribune

In an effort to help Georgians conserve energy and water, save money and protect the environment, today Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Georgia’s fourth annual ENERGY STAR Sales Tax Holiday has been expanded for the first time to include WaterSense labeled products.Georgians will not pay state or local sales taxes on the purchase of energy efficient or water efficient products that cost $1,500 or less per item. The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 2 and runs through midnight Oct. 5.

“As Georgians look at appliances and products that have earned the now-familiar ENERGY STAR designation, I encourage them to also be more aware of water conservation and the impact of using WaterSense labeled products,” said Perdue. “The ENERGY STAR and WaterSense Sales Tax Holiday provides Georgians the perfect opportunity to save money immediately at the cash register and long-term as their water and energy bills go down.”

ENERGY STAR designated products meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Qualified ENERGY STAR appliances and products include dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, doors and windows “Through the ENERGY STAR and WaterSense Sales Tax Holiday, Georgians can save money, conserve energy and water, and show their commitment to the stewardship of our environment,” said Chris Clark, executive director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA).

Many ENERGY STAR qualified appliances use 30 percent less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features, style or comfort. Some products, such as energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, save as much as 80 percent. By replacing old, inefficient appliances with ENERGY STAR qualified models, Georgians can help protect the environment while saving money and energy.

For more information and to better understand the options and benefits of ENERGY STAR qualified products, visit the interactive ENERGY STAR @ Home tool at http://www.energystar.gov. The EPA created the WaterSense program to recognize major water consuming products that are 20 percent more water-efficient and perform as well as or better than conventional models. Currently, 264 high efficiency toilets and 209 bathroom faucets and faucet accessories meet the designation and can be found at a variety of price points at retailers across the state.

“WaterSense is an opportunity for Georgians to make an important choice to help the environment,” said Carol A. Couch, director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “The rewards are many, but the most immediate one is the savings you see on your water bill.”

According to the EPA, installing WaterSense labeled fixtures can have an enormous impact on the amount of water people use in their bathrooms, and the cost of water on their utility bills: • EPA estimates that a family of four that replaces its home’s older toilets with WaterSense labeled models will, using national average water rates, save more than $90 per year in reduced water utility bills, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilets. • If half of the households in Georgia replaced toilets installed before 1994 with WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets (HETs), the savings would be more than 18 billion gallons per year—enough to supply Savannah and surrounding communities in Chatham County for a whole year. • If every household in Georgia installed high-efficiency faucets or faucet aerators, it would save more than five million gallons a day—that’s saving enough water to fill every tank in Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest, in about 37 hours.

For toilets, the key requirements are using no more than 1.28 gallons per flush and solid waste removal of 350 grams or more, ensuring that people won’t have to flush multiple times. Faucets limit flow to 1.5 gallons per minute while still delivering 60 psi of pressure.

Visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense for more information and to better understand the options and benefits of WaterSense qualified products.

Additional information regarding the ENERGY STAR and WaterSense Sales Tax Holiday is also available on the Department of Revenue’s website at http://www.dor.ga.gov

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EPD to curb water withdrawals

22 09 2008

 Ross Blair | Byran County News

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division will be cutting back on the amount of water that can be withdrawn by coastal Georgia, including all of Bryan County, from the upper Floridan aquifer beginning Jan. 1.

The EPD is imposing the cutbacks because of saltwater intrusion to the upper Floridan aquifer as more water is extracted.

Richmond Hill City Manager Mike Melton, who met with the EPD on Sept. 11, said the new ruling will mean, “351,000 gallons per day they’re going to take away from us.”

Melton also said there is no need to panic, because the cuts won’t limit the amount of water the city is using now. In addition, negotiations are underway in an attempt for Richmond Hill to pump water from the lower Floridan aquifer, which the city tapped into in 2006.

 

But Melton said these restrictions, if not counteracted, pose a threat for future water use plans. As outlined in the city’s recently drafted land use plan, future development plans show these water restrictions have the potential to halt development anywhere from five to 10 years from now.

Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones also met recently with EPD officials to discuss these upcoming restrictions. Although Jones said this also will not immediately impact the rest of the county, he too said it will harm future development if not addressed.

Bill Frechette with the EPD said the cutbacks are part of an ongoing effort to avoid potential saltwater intrusion and pointed to a saltwater intrusion act June, 2006.

Read on here.





Georgia’s ENERGY STAR® sales tax holiday

22 09 2008

Joan Mason | Americus Times-Recorder

Get ready; go! Georgians will have the opportunity to purchase qualified energy-efficient products with no state or local sales tax from Oct. 2-5. During the holiday, Georgia’s consumers will be exempt from paying the state and local sales tax on a broad range of products up to $1,500 marked with the ENERGY STAR® logo and purchased for personal use. Specifically, the sales tax exemption applies to ENERGY STAR®-qualified dishwashers, clothes washers, room air conditioners, ceiling fans, compact fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, doors and windows.

Merchandise that qualifies for the ENERGY STAR® label meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Products labeled with the ENERGY STAR® are among the most efficient on the market and help consumers save energy, save money on energy bills and protect the environment.

Read on here.