- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Virginia’s first Energy Star tax-free holiday will begin Friday, providing consumers a chance to buy eco-friendly appliances without the 5 percent state and local sales taxes.

The Virginia General Assembly passed the tax break this year in an attempt to encourage the use of energy-efficient products.

The tax break will apply to Energy Star-certified ceiling fans, compact fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, room air conditioners and clothes washers, according to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Central air conditioners, refrigerators and dryers are not included.

To qualify as an Energy Star appliance, it must meet guidelines set up by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is labeled with a blue-and-white star logo.

The tax-free holiday begins Friday and goes through Monday and applies to Energy Star products that cost $2,500 or less. It will be available at all stores.

Delegate John A. Cosgrove, the Chesapeake Republican who sponsored the law, said the measure will “provide families with a means to save money on new and energy-efficient products for their homes.”

Energy Star products use about 30 percent less energy than their traditional counterparts, according to the EPA.

Several other states, including Georgia, Texas, Connecticut and Florida have held Energy Star tax-free holidays.

“The energy tax-free holiday is popular among consumers [in other states] because they can save twice,” said Karen Cobb, a spokeswoman for Lowe’s Co. Inc., which has 52 home-improvement stores in Virginia.

Shoppers save with the tax break and save down the road with reduced energy costs.

Lowe’s has added an additional 5 to 15 percent discount on Energy Star products that qualify for the tax break this weekend.

Miss Cobb declined to say how much sales have increased during other states’ tax breaks, but said they’re “quite popular.”

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