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Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's the HomeStar Bill?

You may have heard about the HomeStar Bill in the news... Its the bill that also goes by the name of Cash for Caulkers. Here’s the basics of whats proposed in the bill and what it means to you as a homeowner:

Rebates delivered directly to consumers: Like the Cash for Clunkers program, consumers would be eligible for direct HOMESTAR rebates at the point of sale for a variety of energy-saving investments in their homes. A broad array of vendors, from small independent building material dealers, large national home improvement chains, energy efficiency installation professionals like BrightHome and utility energy efficiency programs (including rural utilities) would provide the directly to consumers and then be reimbursed by the federal government.

$1,000 - $1,500 Silver Star Rebates: Consumers looking to have simple upgrades performed in their homes would be eligible for 50% rebates up to $1,000 - $1,500 for doing any of a straightforward set of upgrades, including: insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing and doors. Under Silver Star, consumers can chose a combination of upgrades for rebates up to a maximum of $3,000 per home. Rebates would be limited to the most energy efficient categories of upgrades—focusing on products made primarily in the United States and installed by certified contractors. Go to BrightHome's services here.

$3000 Gold Star Rebates: Consumers interested in more comprehensive energy retrofits would be eligible for a $3,000 rebate for a whole home energy audit and subsequent retrofit from a company like BrightHome, tailored to achieve a 20% energy savings in their homes. Consumers could receive additional rebate amounts for energy savings in excess of 20%. Gold Star would build on existing whole home retrofit programs, like EPA’s successful Home Performance with Energy Star program.

Oversight to Ensure Quality Installations: The program would require that contractors be certified to perform efficiency installations. Independent quality assurance providers would conduct field audits after work is completed to ensure proper installation so consumers receive energy savings from their upgrades. States would oversee the implementation of quality assurance to ensure that the program was moving the industry toward more robust standards and comprehensive energy retrofit practices. Go to BrightHome's certifications here.

Support for financing: The program would include support to State and local governments to provide financing options for consumers seeking to make efficiency investments in their homes. This will help ensure that consumers can afford to make these investments. Go to BrightHome's tax incentive information here.

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