Yesterday, President Obama toured a training facility at Savannah Technical College and took the opportunity to outline more detail on the proposed HOMESTAR Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program. The program has been called "Cash for Caulkers" due to similarities with Cash for Clunkers, but we're going to stick with the HOMESTAR terminology. Here's some additional detail.
The HOMESTAR program, first and foremost, has been designed to help three groups at the same time. It'll help homeowners improve their real property and use less energy. It'll help construction workers find projects and employment. It'll help manufacturers and vendors sell green products.
Rebates Direct to Consumers:
According to a HOMESTAR fact sheet just released by the White House, rebates will be provided to consumers at the moment of purchase. Manufacturers, dealers, chains, and professionals could market programs to consumers and receive a reimbursement from the federal government.
Silver Star Rebates:
Consumers opting for simple upgrades, such as insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing, and doors, would be eligible for a 50% rebate up to $1,000 – $1,500. Using a combination of rebates, consumers could receive a maximum of $3,000 per home. The program would focus on products made primarily in the U.S. that are installed by certified contractors.
Gold Star Rebates:
Consumers opting for a more comprehensive overhaul would be eligible for a $3,000 rebate on a whole house energy audit and retrofit designed to achieve 20% energy savings. Additional rebates would be available for energy savings in excess of 20%.
Quality Control and Oversight:
No only would certified installers complete upgrades and retrofits, but independent quality assurance providers (with state oversight) would conduct audits to ensure proper completion and installation of required products and retrofits.
According to the Office of the Press Secretary, HOMESTAR could create thousands of jobs while simultaneously helping people reduce their use of energy. In fact, program consumers should expect to save something in the ballpark of $200-$500 per year in energy costs as a result of upgrades and retrofits. But remember, HOMESTAR is only a proposal at this point in time.
[+] Read the Proposed HOMESTAR Program Fact Sheet (as of 3/2/2010).
Photo credit: Chuck Kennedy, White House.