Government working on ‘Home Star’ plan for energy-efficiency rebates (aka “Cash for Caulkers”)

By January 25, 2010Uncategorized





Hoping to capitalize on the success of the federal government’s Energy Star label for appliances, the White House and business officials are pushing a new program dubbed “Home Star,” which would give property owners rebates and other incentives to weatherize their homes and make other improvements to cut their energy use. Home Star is expected to be part of a broad jobs bill Congress is preparing to unveil in the coming weeks.


Although details are still being hammered out, several players involved in drafting the Home Star legislation say the program falls into two main categories. Short-term upgrades like air-sealing, insulation, and furnace and water heater replacement would give homeowners $250 rebates for each new appliance installed. Longer-term projects that reduce a home’s energy use by 20 percent could see households earning a rebate of as much as $4,000.

John DoerrSilicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr, who serves on President Barack Obama’s board of outside economic advisers, is a leading champion for Home Star, which he describes as “Cash for Caulkers.” The idea has widespread support from big-box retailers, labor unions, environmental groups and the construction and contracting industries, which have been devastated by the collapse of the housing market. Although national unemployment remains at about 10 percent, almost a quarter of the nation’s construction workers are unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We are in an urgent moment where we desperately need jobs,” said Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and an architect of the Home Star legislation. “You have business and environmental interests aligned around making this happen, and happen now. I have never seen a coalition this broad and this committed.”


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