Cash for Caulkers Program- Get a rebate for saving energy

 

By: Justin Rowell

Just months after the conclusion of the successful “Cash for Clunkers” program, another program with a similar name and concept is emerging. By the time you read this, the Home Star program or “Cash for Caulkers” may have already been signed into law. The plan was proposed in December 2009 and is now under consideration by Congress and the White House.

According to White House officials, homes built in the first half of the last century use fifty-percent more energy than homes built today. Energy upgrades such as new doors, windows, roofs, insulation and modernizing cooling and heating equipment are ways middle class consumers can save money.

Consumers directly eligible for rebates at the point of sale from a variety of vendor home improvement stores such as Lowes or Home Depot who would then be reimbursed by the federal government.

Home Star is a rebate program with a proposed $9.6 billion dollars in funds, allocating up to $12,000 per homeowner. The program is designed to give homeowners financial incentives for making their home more energy efficient as well as create “green” jobs. As it currently stands, the program will be broken down into two different paths for homeowners, the Silver Star path and the Gold Star path.

The Silver Star is a prescriptive path. Implement any number of a prescribed set of eligible eco-friendly measures on your house and receive a rebate of up to 50% of the cost, up to $4000. 

The Gold Star path is a performance-based track that would be based on results found in a qualifying home energy audit. This path will provide rebates of 50% of the cost of appropriate measures as determined by the energy auditor. Modeled energy savings of 20% correspond to a $4000 rebate. An additional $1,500 rebate is possible for each additional 5% of modeled energy savings, up to $12,000.

Thanks to this program, there has probably never been a better time to implement energy efficiency measures on your home. These measures are essential to lowering utility costs and making your home more comfortable. They also are essential preparation for larger green jobs, such as solar or other renewable energy projects. 

Justin Rowell is a LEED AP, certified HERS rater, and BPI Building Performance Analyst and owns Greenmodeling, a local energy auditing, weatherization and green technology service company. He can be reached at (704) 753-7371 or www.greenmodeling.com.

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