Cash for Caulkers, officially titled “HOMESTAR,” is designed to entice Americans to make energy efficient upgrades to their home. Just as Cash for Clunkers increased auto sales by offering tax rebates to Americans who exchanged their inefficient cars for more fuel-friendly models, the Cash for Caulkers program hopes to boost the demand for building products by offering point-of-sale tax rebates for energy efficient upgrades such as insulation. Cash for Caulkers also aims to create jobs through installation services, reduce household energy costs by hundreds of dollars a year, and reduce the nation’s dependency on oil.
Cash for Caulkers Details
Below is background information on the HOMESTAR Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program as included in a recent press release from the Office of the Press Secretary.
- Rebates delivered directly to consumers: Like the Cash for Clunkers program, consumers would be eligible for direct HOMESTAR rebates at the point of sale for a variety of energy-saving investments in their homes. A broad array of vendors, from small independent building material dealers, large national home improvement chains, energy efficiency installation professionals and utility energy efficiency programs (including rural utilities) would market the rebates, provide them directly to consumers and then be reimbursed by the federal government.
- $1,000 - $1,500 Silver Star Rebates: Consumers looking to have simple upgrades performed in their homes would be eligible for 50% rebates up to $1,000 - $1,500 for doing any of a straightforward set of upgrades, including: insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing and doors. Under Silver Star, consumers can chose a combination of upgrades for rebates up to a maximum of $3,000 per home. Rebates would be limited to the most energy efficient categories of upgrades—focusing on products made primarily in the United States and installed by certified contractors.
- $3000 Gold Star Rebates: Consumers interested in more comprehensive energy retrofits would be eligible for a $3,000 rebate for a whole home energy audit and subsequent retrofit tailored to achieve a 20% energy savings in their homes. Consumers could receive additional rebate amounts for energy savings in excess of 20%. Gold Star would build on existing whole home retrofit programs, like EPA’s successful Home Performance with Energy Star program.
- Oversight to Ensure Quality Installations: The program would require that contractors be certified to perform efficiency installations. Independent quality assurance providers would conduct field audits after work is completed to ensure proper installation so consumers receive energy savings from their upgrades. States would oversee the implementation of quality assurance to ensure that the program was moving the industry toward more robust standards and comprehensive energy retrofit practices.
- Support for financing: The program would include support to state and local governments to provide financing options for consumers seeking to make efficiency investments in their homes. This will help ensure that consumers can afford to make these investments.
Since becoming Managing Editor, Justin has led the development of Buildipedia’s site-wide content plan, fully integrating content across all audience channels and the Knowledgebase. Justin is responsible for the quality and accuracy of all published material, as well as the direction of the editorial department, including long-term strategy and vision. Before joining Buildipedia, Justin worked as an Architectural Project Designer, facilitating the design and construction process of multi-million dollar commercial projects. He also served as liaison to the international architectural staff and as a Construction Project Coordinator for higher education projects. Justin is a graduate of Bowling Green State University.