Tax break offered on energy-savers

Georgians will once again have the opportunity to buy energy-saving and water-efficient products without sales taxes during the 2009 Energy Star and WaterSense Sales Tax Holiday this week.

The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and runs through midnight Sunday. Georgians will not pay state or local sales taxes on the purchase of Energy Star-qualified or WaterSense-labeled products that cost $1,500 or less per item.

"Purchasing appliances and products with Energy Star and WaterSense labels helps create a culture of conservation in our state," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "The Energy Star and WaterSense Sales Tax Holiday is a perfect opportunity for Georgians to save money at the cash register and on their water and energy bills."

Energy Star designated products meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Qualified Energy Star appliances and products eligible for the sales tax exemption include dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, doors, windows and skylights.

Many Energy Star-qualified appliances use 30 percent less energy than conventional models. Some products, such as energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, save as much as 80 percent.

For more information, visit 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. WaterSense-labeled products eligible for the sales tax exemption include bathroom sink faucets or aerators and high-efficiency toilets.

"Understanding how much water we use during routine household activities can help us all to be more water efficient," said Carol A. Couch, director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. "The WaterSense label makes it easy for consumers to recognize household products that use less water and result in lower water bills."

According to the EPA, if just one out of every four households in Georgia retrofits their bathrooms with WaterSense-labeled fixtures, it could save nearly 10 billion gallons of water per year. The average household spends as much as $500 per year on its water and sewer bill. By installing WaterSense-labeled fixtures and Energy Star-qualified appliances that use water more efficiently, a household could save about $170.

Visit www.epa.gov/watersense for more information.