Home Star Retrofit Rebate

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 6 April, 2010 at

The Home Star Retrofit Rebate Program is a new program that will provide homeowners with federal rebates if it passes. The act is currently under discussion by House Members including Representative Waxman, and is supported by President Obama. This program would provide federal funding to fix up houses so heating and cooling use less energy.

This program will provide rebates directly to customers when they install the retrofit equipment, according to the White House. The retailer, energy company, or energy contractor offers the rebate and then receives payment from the government. It’s an efficiency retrofit program, so this doesn’t involve adding new solar panels or wind plants to houses. The rebates are offered to people who install new attic and wall insulation, heating and air conditioning, as well as other items.

Significantly, the federal government also mentions that it will help the homeowners borrow money to install the retrofits. It’s unclear how much liability the federal government is assuming if the bill passes, considering the debacle of home improvements during the bubble such as granite counter tops. At least these types of loans reduce energy usage, which does add value to a home even in a down market as these are not cosmetic improvements. It appears these loans will be provided by state and county governments, with additional backing provided by the Treasury. That potentially makes the loans up to regional governments, which may or may not be enthusiastic about lending money for the retrofits. States such as California that are hit hard by the loss of construction jobs and have many citizens concerned about energy cost reduction are more likely to go along with this policy.

The government has set targets in previous legislation, such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Meeting these targets requires additional federal backing. Researchers at Duke University explain some additional ways the federal government can support energy conservation. The support for home energy audits mentioned in this article are included in the 2010 bill, as well as conducting an information campaign as this program is posted on the President’s blog. Other options mentioned by Duke staff include allowing the states and county governments funding the retrofit program to offer tax free bonds, as well as adding the retrofits to low income housing. The government also owns a lot of other housing, such as housing for soldiers on military bases, and adding new insulation, doors, and windows at the barracks would help morale as well as conserving fuel for military equipment and providing jobs to military contractors.

Comments are closed.