The New Mexican

The Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association (SFAHBA) has expanded the event, in part because of the new venue.

“When we were at the Genoveva Chavez Center, there were really no breakout rooms where folks could go and attend an informative, free class,” said Kim Shanahan, SFAHBA executive officer. “We have a lot of those rooms now and we’re taking advantage of them.”

There will be a “Builder/Remodeler Café,” with construction experts available to answer questions; seminars on performing renovations with a focus on energy efficiency and other aspects of sustainable or “green” building; and “Answer the Money Question,” where you can find financial advice about getting started on a home purchase or renovation project.

A community room offers free spaces for up to 40 nonprofit groups. These will include Habitat for Humanity, Santa Fe Community Housing Trust, ¡YouthWorks!, and others related to housing, but it’s open to any nonprofits who want to participate.

The Home Builders Association had 17 entries for the annual X-Cellence in Remodeling Contest. “That’s encouraging because we’re at the same level as before,” Shanahan said. “We have some excellent portfolios that demonstrate some amazing stuff, and whole-house remodels up to $1.5 million.”

In remodeling and new-home construction, all matters green are a bigger deal than ever.

“We have a new green-building code [passed by the Santa Fe City Council on March 11], which is primarily for new residential construction, and the Home Builders Association will be working with the city this year on developing green remodeling and renovation codes for both residential and commercial,” Shanahan said. “What’s sort of new is the whole stimulus package that President Obama has passed, which has quite a bit of funds available for green remodeling. It’s very exciting. The tax credits for energy-efficient remodeling went from caps of $500 to $1,500 for eligible things.”

The tax credits amount to 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500, for energy-efficiency improvements to windows and doors, insulation, roofs, and Energy Star-rated furnaces and boilers. Tax credits for photovoltaics and solar water-heating systems are 30 percent of the cost, with no upper limit.

“The other thing is that before, certain categories were limited to even less,” Shanahan explained. “For instance, window-retrofitting was limited to $200 and now the categories have all been opened up to that $1,500 level. Before, insulation upgrades were given the maximum amount of the credit of $500 and the thing about Santa Fe is that insulation upgrades are not the low-hanging fruit they are in most of the country. With our flat roofs, we don’t have attics you can crawl into and spray in more cellulose insulation. Windows, on the other hand, are a relatively easy thing to improve in our market.

“We are seeing a rise in remodeling and a lot of contractors who were doing spec homes before are actively going after that, because it is sort of the only game in town,” Shanahan said.

The Home & Remodeling Show is free and open to the public. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Winners of the X-Cellence in Remodeling Contest will be announced at 1 p.m. Saturday during the show.

For more information, see www.sfahba.com or call 982-1774.