On May 6, 2010, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5019 on a vote of 246-161. The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), is designed to spur home energy retrofits by providing rebates to homeowners who install energy-saving products, such as insulation, windows, doors and heating systems. Home Star includes two tracks to provide long and short-term benefits.
The Silver Star program will provide up-front rebates for the installation of specific energy-saving technologies, including insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing, and water heaters. Homeowners will be able to receive up to $3,000 in rebates under Silver Star.
The Gold Star program rewards homeowners who conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement a full complement of measures to reduce energy use throughout the home. Consumers will receive $3,000, or half the cost, for measures that reduce energy use by 20 percent, and can receive up to $8,000 when additional energy savings are achieved.
Home Star also creates an innovative financing program to be sure that energy efficiency investments continue after the program’s conclusion.
Home Star is authorized at $6 billion; however, H.R. 5019 will not include any appropriated funds during floor consideration. The Congressional Budget Office has said, “Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. H.R. 5019 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).”
Home Star is expected to allow three million families to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient. Consumers are predicted to save $9.2 billion on their energy bills over the next 10 years as a result of Home Star’s energy efficiency investments. And, Home Star will create 168,000 new jobs here in the United States. Construction jobs cannot be outsourced and more than 90 percent of energy efficiency technologies are manufactured here in America.
H.R. 5019 has the endorsement of a broad range of business, labor, environmental, and consumer groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Home Star Coalition, which includes more than 1,000 business and other organizations. It is similarly supported by the range of industry associations. The Petroleum Marketers Association of America notes that although there is strong support for the program in the Senate the companion bill has not moved in that body.