Home Star passed by House

The Obama administration has called on Congress to pass a new incentive program for home energy efficiency upgrades called Home star. Created to help bolster the hard hit construction sector and national security by decreasing foreign energy dependence Home star will create tens of thousands of jobs and save home owners billions of dollars in long term energy reductions not to mention green house gases.  Rebates will be provided directly to the consumers and the federal government will reimburse accredited contractors and utilities for efficiency work performed. (SBS does this type of work.)

There are two tiers of the program: Gold star and Silver star.   Gold star is a two-year program that will provide between $3,000-$8,000 for 20%+ modeled savings for home owners.  Homeowners will need an audit by a RESNET HERS Rater or BPI Building Analyst Certified Professional to assess energy savings through improvements before work begins.  Work must be performed by a Gold star accredited contracting company.

Silver star is a one-year program which will qualify homeowners to receive between  $1,000-$1,500 for each qualified efficiency measure, $250 per appliance, with a cap of $3000or 50% of project costs whichever is less. Qualified measures include: air sealing, attic, wall, and crawlspace insulation, duct sealing or replacement, replacement of existing windows, doors, furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, water heaters, and appliances with high-efficiency models.  When this bill passes through congress (expected in the next few months) there will be a huge demand for audit and efficiency retrofit work.

The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) Program Act has been submitted to the House Energy and Commerce and House Financial Services Subcommitees.  This bill Requires: (1) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement standards for a national energy and environmental building retrofit policy for single-family and multifamily residences; (2) the Secretary of Energy (DOE) to develop and implement standards for a national energy and environmental building retrofit policy for commercial buildings; and (3) the program to implement such policies to be known as the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program.

Requirements of the REEP program: (1) facilitate the retrofitting of existing buildings to achieve maximum cost-effective energy efficiency improvements and significant improvements in water use and other environmental attributes; and (2) provide financial assistance to states, to be administered through the State Energy Program, for management and accomplishment of the program’s objectives at the individual building level. Authorizes states and local agencies to offer free or low-cost building audits, incentives, technical assistance, training, incentive financing, and other forms of assistance to individual building owners. Requires the Administrator and the Secretary to assist states and local agencies in establishing revolving loan funds or other forms of financial assistance.

The Caulkers Bill – or “Cash for Caulkers” has not passed the House.  We think this is good news… but the fight isn’t over yet.  Next it’s to the senate.


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