The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the bi-partisan Home Star legislation, HR 5019, The Home Star Retrofit Act of 2010, by a vote of 246 to 161.
Home Star is a market-driven program designed to inspire more Americans to start making their homes more energy efficient, and thus save money and slash carbon emissions.
The legislation, known also as "Cash for Caulkers," also seeks to boost the comeback of America’s hard-hit construction industry, and to cut through some of the typical bureaucracy of federal programs in order to create jobs quickly by scaling up the existing home energy efficiency improvement industry.
It would establish a streamlined rebate program to encourage immediate investment in energy-efficient appliances, building mechanical systems and insulation, and home energy efficiency retrofits. The original cosponsors of H.R. 5019 were Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Dennis Cardoza (D-CA).
The Home Star legislation now heads to the Senate.
Following the success of the Cash for Clunkers and EnergyStar programs, the Home Star program seeks to help families at home by cutting both energy waste and electricity bills. If it passes into law, Home Star would provide homeowners with incentives to purchase and install specified heating systems, insulation measures, water heaters, and other approved energy-efficient items.
Spurring that demand would in turn create an immediate employment boom for local contractors, builders and hardware stores, a much-needed boost since one out of four construction workers is currently unemployed.
The HOME STAR Coalition, a broad based group of over a thousand small and medium sized businesses from every state in the country along with nationally recognized companies, labor and environmental organizations and associations, applauded the passage and vowed to continue its efforts to move the legislation towards President Obama's desk for signing.
The coalition estimates that Home Star will create or save an estimated 168,000 jobs and help homeowners save US$9.2 billion dollars on their energy bills.
“HOME STAR is a win-win-win: it will put our nation's skilled construction force back to work, benefit homeowners through comfort and energy efficient improvements to their existing homes, and result in long-term energy and environmental gains. I want to congratulate the House and work with the Senate so Congress can act quickly to enact this program,” said Larry Laseter, President of WellHome, one of the coalition members.
“HOME STAR is the right investment for the country at the right time,” said Tracy Price, CEO of The Linc Group, another coalition member. “Energy efficiency is not a partisan issue, as it helps move us toward greater energy independence and enhances our national security. This program is targeted at the largest marketplace in the country, existing homes, and will be create jobs in a new industry that will thrive for decades.”
The Home Star legislation has garnered support from an unusually broad array of interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Alliance to Save Energy and other environmental groups, as well as the faith community.
Read Energy Boom's previous coverage of Home Star for more details on the program.
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