The Home Star Energy Retrofits conservation bill includes specific benefits. Home Star provides federal backing to installation of equipment that reduces energy costs. The proposed program subsidizes householders, construction contractors, and construction retailers, at a cost to the federal government. Stores and installers submit rebate requests to the federal government, which pays the qualifying rebates.
Home Star includes $6 billion in total subsidies in 2010, according to Senator Mark Warner. The Virginia senator gives a speech introducing Home Star at the link. The Home Star plan provides jobs to workers in the United States, according to Representative Lois Capps. Construction contractors buy insulation and HVAC systems from stores such as Home Depot in Santa Barbara, and installers work in other cities in Capps’ district including subdivisions in Ventura. Representative Lois Capps’ coastal district was hit hard by the collapse of the housing market. The headquarters of Countrywide Bank were in a neighboring district, the bank is now part of Bank of America.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources provides a summary of the benefits in the Home Star proposal. The target for this plan is to retrofit three million homes, spending around $2000 a house. The subsidy level varies depending on which improvements the homeowner purchases. The grant is meant to save the homeowner much more in energy costs. According to Pew via Senator Mark Warner, the retrofits may reduce energy usage by as much as forty percent. The Home Star Retrofits may provide even greater savings, since many power companies charge higher rates as homeowners use increasing amounts of energy during the month. For example, Southern California Edison bills homeowners at tiered rates. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources estimates that participating households will save around $200-$500 a year in energy costs.
The Home Star program provides two options to home owners to receive the rebates. Silver Star provides funding for individual efficiency improvements and matches up to half of the cost, with a maximum value of rebates per household of $3000. Individual Silver Star Rebates vary between $1000-$1500, according to the Senate proposal. Gold Star is performance based, and the rebate is based on the percentage reduction in energy usage. Gold Star provides $3000 for the initial twenty percent reduction, and $1000 for additional five percent reductions, according to Senator Mark Warner. Since Gold Star requires performance measurement it also requires an energy audit for homeowners to qualify for a rebate, so the energy use before and after the construction can be compared.