Home Star Program AKA: Cash for Caulkers

The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act AKA: Cash for Caulkers,
Right now there is an up roar over this, should the government be spending more money?
Let’s just start with McKinsey Report that Cites $1.2 Trillion in Potential Savings From Energy Efficiency
You can read more of this report from the NY Times Green Blog
Many people have used the $1500 tax credit to upgrade certain energy efficient items for their homes. This is money that the consumer is saving and any savings is a good thing. Keep in mind the Tax Credit is up to $1500 off your taxable income. In many cases you wouldn’t actually receive $1500 back. Some customers did not receive anything because they didn’t have any taxable income. I myself would have only got back $418 do to my taxable income.

The Home Star Energy Retrofit act is a little different instead of a tax break it is a rebate the contractor will give a home owner then collect the rebate from the government.
I recommend anyone who is either for or against this stimulus proposition to at least read the The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act. Home Star Energy Retrofit Act House of Representatives or Home Star Energy Retrofit Act Senate
I’ve taken the time and read through the proposed act about 10 times now going line for line.
I have my concerns on a few issues, but over all if implemented correctly this act is what I have been talking about all along. You can read my previous blogs to know what my concerns and thoughts are.
Another note:
For the construction trade industry it is something that is needed. We are 25% unemployed nationally in the construction work force and I will bet Florida is worse than that. That’s one out of 4 construction tradesman out of work.

So let’s get down to the nuts and bolts and break down the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act.
This act states it would prefer to help enhance or extend state ran programs that are now in effect, but does not want to duplicate any programs that are currently ran by a state.
Rebate aggregators job positions will be created to review applications and to submit data to the Federal Rebate Processing System and then to distribute funds of the rebate.
As the Home Star Program is written today, the government will give rebates for work that has met the energy savings guide line. The discounts must be duly noted and documented and sent in to the agency for reimbursement. The qualified contractor would give the rebate up front and you the consumer would save instantly. The discounts would be for the fiscal year of 2010 and 2011. I am not sure if any work would be post dated, as it is written now it will not be post dated so units bought before the act would not qualify for a rebate.

– There is 12 home improvement categories this Home Star Program covers.
– There are 2 programs, the Silver Star and the Gold Star
– The Silver Star gives up to $3000 discounts back to the home owner and is base on single home improvements
– The Gold Star starts with a home energy audit and the Gold Star Starts at $3,000 for a 20-percent reduction in whole home energy consumption; and (2) an additional $1,000 for each additional 5 percent reduction up to the lower of $8,000; or 50 percent of the total retrofit cost. A certified 3rd party may be needed to justify the whole house reduction of energy use.

Here is the 12 improvements with the maximum discounts the amount of a rebate provided under shall be $1,000 per measure with few exceptions of greater or less than $1000 discounts for the installation of energy savings measures. I did not list every detailed requirements of all 12 items since the items mainly fall in line with the tax credit criteria.

1. Whole House Air Sealing Measures that meets BPI standards- Discounts up to $1500
2. Attic Insulation – Discounts up to $1500
– meets BPI standards or
– add at least R-19 to existing insulation to create R-38 in Zones 1-4 or R-49 in Zones 4-8
3. Duct Seal or at least 50% of duct replacement that meets BPI standards discounts up to $1000
4. Wall insulation up to full stud thickness – discounts up to $1000
5. Crawl Space or basement wall and joist insulation discounts up to $250
6. Window replacement minimum of 8 windows or 75% of all windows discounts up to $1000
7. Door Replacement discount $150 per door and up to 2 doors that qualify
8. Heating replacement furnace discounts up to $1000
– AFUE of 92 or better Boiler AFUE of 90 or greater
– Oil furnace or boiler of 89 or greater
– Wood/wood pellet furnace or boiler that meets 75% of the heat demand.
9. Air Conditioner or heat pump discounts up to $1000
meets or exceeds—
– A/C SEER 16 and EER 13;
– HP SEER 15, EER 12.5, and HSPF 8.5.
10. GEO Thermal discount up to $1000
11. Replacement of natural gas, propane or electric water heater that meet specifications
$250 each for maximum of 4 electric tankless water heaters that meet specifications
12. Storm windows $50 for each storm window with a minimum of 5 and a max of 8

Total discount Rebate $3000 or 50% of total cost of measures up to $3000

There is also wording in the act for Indian Tribes ran as state,

In the last part of the Act it talks about helping Financial institutes that will give special financing to home improvements that meet the guide lines. It also mentioned that some financial institutes may offer 0% financing. < Yea right! But any help would be appreciated but this is where the act needs to tighten up and lay down the law! I’m not for this act to give money to the financial industry when they already have their stimulus program that has not benefited the consumer yet. A good source for information on The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act you can check out this web site http://www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star/

6 Responses to “Home Star Program AKA: Cash for Caulkers”

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  2. Keira James says:

    wall insulation is really needed if you want to save on energy bills, wall insulations help save in heating cost,;”

  3. We get calls all the time, at ACU Air Heating and Air Conditioning, from customers who want to get the ac tax credit. What many don’t realize is that the difference in price between the equipment they actually need and the equipment they will have to install to get the tax credit is far more than they will get back in the tax credit. This is especially true if they have a perfectly good heater with many years of life left but would have to replace it with a two-stage furnace for their HVAC system to meet the credit’s EER/SEER requirements. We do not encourage these people to go for the tax credit.

    The only people for whom the credit really makes sense are those who were planning to do an entire system changeout anyway and who plan to be in their house for many more years. Their utility savings will, overtime, close the gap between the cost of a 13 or 14 SEER system and a system that meets the tax credit criteria — after which they will actually come out ahead.

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  5. Ella Walker says:

    for wall insulation, i always use polyethylene foams and also polypropylene foams–,

  6. Peter says:

    I’ve heard that the government is doing something different next hear for air conditioning tax credits. As an contractor myself, I would love to know. Has anyone heard anything?

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