The New Direction Congress is taking historic action to create clean energy jobs, spur energy savings for American families, and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil that is funding terrorism.
On May 6th, the House passed the bipartisan Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019) by a vote of 246-161 to provide immediate incentives for consumers who renovate their homes to become more energy-efficient, rapidly creating jobs here at home, while saving money for American families.
Through up-front rebates of up to $3,000 for insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing and water heaters and incentives for complete home energy-saving renovations, Home Star will:
- Create an estimated 168,000 American jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail- industries that have been devastated by the Bush economic crisis
- Save about 3 million American families an estimated $200-500 per year on their energy bills, totaling $9 billion over the next 10 years
- Reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil--cutting the use of natural gas and home heating oil in an amount equivalent to nearly 7 million barrels of heating oil in 2011.
These market-based incentives are desperately needed, with unemployment in the U.S. construction industry over 25 percent. They are good for America--as construction jobs cannot be outsourced and 90% of the energy saving products needed for Home Star--windows, doors, and insulation--are manufactured in the USA.
The bipartisan legislation enjoys broad support from business, labor, environmental and consumer groups--including President Obama, the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Home Builders, Owens Corning, Home Depot, Laborers' International Union of North America, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Home Star Coalition with over 1000 business and organization members nationwide.
Home Star will spur home energy renovation with two types of consumer incentives:
- Silver Star - This provides up-front rebates for specific energy-saving investments, including insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing and water heaters at the time of sale. Homeowners receive up to $1,500 per improvement, with a rebate of up to $3,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost.
- Gold Star - This rewards homeowners who conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement measures to reduce energy use, backed by a quality assurance program. Consumers receive $3,000 for a demonstrated savings of 20 percent, plus an additional $1,000 for each additional 5 percent energy savings up to $8,000 - capped at 50 percent of the project cost.
Oversight to Ensure Quality Installations: The bill requires that contractors be certified to perform efficiency installations. Independent quality assurance providers will conduct field audits after work is completed to ensure proper installation so that consumers are guaranteed the full energy savings from their upgrades. States would oversee the implementation of quality assurance.
Support for financing: The bill includes $324 million for State and local governments to provide financing options for consumers who need assistance with their share of the cost of energy efficiency improvements. This will help ensure that consumers can afford to make these investments.
The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010. The Administration shares the sponsors' commitment to establishing a program of incentives to encourage homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient. H.R. 5019 will provide consumers up-front rebates for many home energy-saving investments such as improved insulation; upgraded heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; and energy-efficient windows. The bill will create green jobs in construction and manufacturing, help consumers lower their energy bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Administration applauds the bipartisan efforts that have brought H.R. 5019 to the House floor and looks forward to the passage of this legislation.