HR 5019, also known as the HOME STAR Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (Cash for Caulkers), passed the House of Representatives on May 6. The House version of the bill must be reconciled with the Senate version, and the reconciled bill must be passed by both houses before the legislation becomes official; but its passage in the House was a welcomed positive step encouraging homeowners to ‘go green’.
The bill, if passed, gives homeowners an incentive to make their homes more energy efficient. There are two programs associated with the legislation, each offering consumer rebates of up to several thousands of dollars.
The Silver Star Program would provide homeowners with a $1,000 or $1,500 incentive for each approved measure. The benefit is not to exceed $3,000. Examples of approved measures include air sealing, insulation in the attic, walls and crawl spaces, duct sealing/replacement and the replacement of existing windows, doors, air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, water heaters and appliances with energy efficient models.
The Gold Star Program offers benefits to homeowners wishing to conduct a comprehensive energy audit, followed by the implementation of various measures to provide energy savings. It is intended to identify problems, offer solutions and ultimately provide energy savings.
A certified professional would first conduct the audit and then perform a test-out once the retrofit is complete. The program provides homeowners with $3,000 for modeled savings of 20%, as well as an additional $1,000 for each additional 5% of modeled savings. Total benefit may not exceed 50% of the total project cost or $8,000, whichever is less. Contractors who implement the Gold Star Program must be accredited with the Building Performance Institute (BPI).