The Home Star Rebate Program makes so much sense that it’s one of a rare breed of legislation for this Congress – a bill that’s bipartisan! The Senate bill, S.3177, was introduced in late March and sponsored by Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Warner (D-VA). Apparently, there’s enough bipartisan support that President Obama may have a bill on his desk and ready to sign in June.
Home Star is great news for the country. With the ‘Tool Belt Recession’ having put many construction workers on unemployment (if they’re lucky enough to qualify), Home Star would put many of them back to work. Yes, it’s a short term program – Home Star Silver Star would last only one year, and Home Star Gold Star would last two – but the idea is to get the economy moving again. That’s why this is part of the jobs bill discussion in Washington.
Home Star is also good for the US because it increases our energy security. We waste an incredible amount of energy in buildings, much of which is easily remedied. Don’t believe me? See my blog article on the savings generated by a recent home energy retrofit financed with an energy efficient mortgage.
Improving home energy efficiency impacts our energy security because, believe it or not, global oil production is at or near its all-time peak. Remember $4 per gallon gasoline in 2008? That wasn’t an anomaly, and it’ll be back before we know it. One result is that transportation is getting more electrified, which will cause the price of electricity to rise. Making our homes more efficient means that the economic shock will be less as this transition accelerates. (I’ll write more in depth about this soon.)
Home Star is good for homeowners, too, of course. They get to make their homes more efficient at a cost of fifty cents on the dollar. What a deal! The really nice thing about this kind of work is that when you improve home energy efficiency, you also improve its comfort, healthfulness, and durability.
If you see the value in this program, you might want to call, write, or email your Senators and Representative. It looks like it will pass anyway, but more support shown for a bill never hurts.
To find out more about the Home Star rebate program, you can read my earlier blog piece on it or go to one of the best sources for all things Home Star: the Home Star page on the Efficiency First website. You can find a link there to the Senate bill, but I’ll give it to you here, too: Senate Bill S.3177 (web version).