On February 3, 2011, the President announce the “Better Building Initiative” which includes a proposed redesign of the EPACT 2005 tax deduction for commercial building upgrades, transforming the current deduction to a credit that is more generous and that will encourage building owners and real estate investment trusts (REITs) to retrofit their properties. Information can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/03/president-obama-s-plan-win-future-making-american-businesses-more-energy
On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law a five-year extension of the deduction through December 31, 2013. The extension was included in HR 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which passed the Senate on October 1 by a vote of 74-25 and by the House on October 3 by a vote of 263-171.
While the law was changed in 2008 to extend the availability of the deduction through 2013, there was no change in the dollar per square foot allowance of $1.80. Efforts are underway in the 111th Congress to increase the deduction amount but until Congress passes and the President signs new legislation the $1.80 is the current maximum.
S. 1637 - "Expanding Building Efficiency Incentives Act of 2009" -- Introduced August 7, 2009 by Sen. Snowe and cosponsored by Senators Bingaman and Feinstein. Section 3 increases the deduction from $1.80 to $3.00; provides authority for partial deductions, and a prescriptive partial compliance pathway for combined envelope and mechanical systems.
H.R. 4226 -- "Expanding Building Efficiency Incentives Act of 2009" -- Introduced December 9, 2009 by House members Dave Reichart, Ron Kind, Earl Blumenauer, Geoff Davis, Tom Perriello, and Chris Lee. Section 3 increases the deduction to $3.00, and tracks with the provisions in companion S. 1637.