Tuesday, March 02, 2010

President Obama's Homestar "Cash For Caulkers" Proposal

President Barack Obama is proposing a $6 billion program to provide $3,000 cash rebates to homeowners who make energy-saving home improvements: insulate, replace windows, or install energy-saving heating, air-conditioning or ventilation systems. The rebates would be provided at the point of sale, by product retailers or contractors. The proposal is part of a plan by the administration to boost employment among U.S. makers of insulation and other materials covered by the rebates, and spur installation-related hiring in the construction sector, where unemployment hovers near 25%. The Center supports the proposal and will lobby Congress to incorporate the legislation in jobs or energy measures.

The program is called Homestar and nicknamed "Cash for Caulkers" contains some provisions similar to those included in the $787 billion stimulus bill passed last year. Under the proposal, consumers who undertake improvements—insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, furnaces or air-conditioners, windows, roofing and doors— would be eligible for 50% rebates on that spending, up to a maximum of $3,000. More comprehensive retrofits would qualify for a $3,000 rebate for a whole home energy audit and subsequent retrofit aimed at annual energy savings of at least homeowners who achieve greater savings would come in for additional rebate amounts. (WSJ, 3/2/10)

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