On May 6th, the US House of Representatives passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010. The Home Star Bill now moves on to the Senate for review before it will become law. This program is aimed at jump starting job growth by increasing energy efficient consumer purchases while reducing the country’s energy consumption.
As it stands now, the bill provides two types of consumer incentives:
1) Silver Star – this provides up-front rebates at the time of purchase for insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing and water heaters. Homeowners may receive up to $1500 per improvement, with a total rebate of up to $3,000 or 50% of the total project cost.
2) Gold Star – rewards homeowners that undertake a comprehensive energy audit and document their energy savings. Consumers may receive $3,000 for a demonstrated energy savings of 20%. For every 5% energy savings after that, they can receive $1,000. The cap is $8,000 or 50% of the project cost.
To make sure homeowners will be able to afford the home renovations, the bill includes $324 million for state and local governments to provide financing options to consumers to manage their share of the cost. This can be a powerful program for homeowners that can take advantage of it before the money runs out.
Projects must be installed by qualified contractors, and the states will have independent quality assurance providers auditing installations in the field to ensure the energy savings will be achieved.
President Obama strongly supports the Act, and agrees that it will not only reduce greenhouse emissions and help consumers lower their energy bills, but it will also stimulate the creation of green jobs (estimated at about 170,000) in construction and manufacturing. The administration views it as a key element of the economic recovery and green job agendas, and it has widespread support.
We have yet to clarify what this will mean in terms of real savings on windows and doors until the bill is finalized. However, upon first review of the bill it is very favorable to window and door replacement.
There is additional concern about the Home Star program being negatively affected by the recent passage of the EPA’s Lead Paint Rule which targets homes built before 1978. I expect to have more details on this in the next few weeks. If you have questions, please make a comment.