New federal legislation would provide tax breaks for IAQ upgrades

Indoor air quality is finally getting more attention at the federal level. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia) introduced legislation that would encourage IAQ upgrades in commercial buildings. Beyer’s legislation would provide tax breaks to commercial building owners who perform air quality assessments and upgrade their ventilation and air filtration systems. “Improving indoor air quality reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission, but it can also benefit employers and workers by reducing sick days, creating a cleaner and more comfortable work environment. and reducing the risk of long-term health problems,” the rep said. Beyer said in a press release.

The Airborne Act is supported by many industry groups, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), an organization that creates recommended standards for HVAC and filtration systems. The legislation would provide a tax credit of $1 per square foot to commercial property owners who conduct IAQ assessments. It would also encourage building owners to upgrade their HVAC systems to meet ASHRAE 62.1-2019. The tax credit for HVAC upgrades would be equal to $5 per square foot of buildings affected by air filters and an additional $50 per square foot for ventilation systems, limited to 50% of the cost total of the project.

The EPA lists harmful indoor air quality as one of the top 5 public health risks, but there is very little regulation about it, especially at the federal level. The Airborne Act would be a tax incentive package, not a regulation, but air quality advocates say it’s a step in the right direction. COVID and airborne transmission of the virus have brought IAQ to the fore lately, and building owners should expect a greater push for cleaner indoor air in the years to come.

About Michael S. Montanez

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