Today, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) was at Levittown's Windowizards on Monday highlighting the potential new HOMESTAR Energy Rebate program to create jobs and save homeowners money. Murphy was joined by local homeowners and David Goodman of the Levittown-based window company to tout the program that, if passed by Congress, will provide rebates to consumers who invest in making their homes more efficient. The program offers homeowners money back on the purchase and installation of specified energy efficiency products, and it offers incentives to those who undertake retrofits to their homes that demonstrate a reduction of 20% or more in energy consumption.
In addition to lowering energy costs, the bill will create jobs for those hardest hit when the housing bubble burst, including builders and contractors, construction material manufacturers, and hardware store owners. According to the HOME STAR Coalition - a group of 700 manufacturing, retail, construction and environmental groups - the program will put an estimated 168,000 skilled Americans back to work in these sectors.
"Providing rebates to families for making their homes more energy efficient not only saves homeowners money; it stimulates job growth as well," said Congressman Patrick Murphy.
"As a small business owner, I truly appreciate Congressman's Murphy support for job creation programs like HOME STAR, which would be huge for expanding my company and helping me hire new workers," said David Goodman, President of the Levittown-based company Windowizards.
"Providing rebates will give a lot of families the incentive they need to make these energy-efficient improvements and lower their monthly energy bills," said Rita Estulin, a Newtown resident who recently installed energy-efficient replacement windows in her home.
Background on the HOMESTAR program
With unemployment in the construction sector near 25% and with substantial underutilized capacity in our manufacturing sector, the HOMESTAR program has the potential to jumpstart our economic recovery by boosting demand for energy efficiency products and installation services. For middle-class families, this program will help them save hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs while improving the comfort and value of their most important investment -- their homes. In addition, the program would help reduce our economy's dependence on oil and support the development of an energy efficiency services sector in our economy. Key components of the HOMESTAR Program include:
* Rebates delivered directly to consumers: Consumers would be eligible for direct HOMESTAR rebates at the point of sale for a variety of energy-saving investments in their homes. A broad array of vendors, from small independent building material dealers, large national home improvement chains, energy efficiency installation professionals and utility energy efficiency programs (including rural utilities) would market the rebates, provide them directly to consumers and then be reimbursed by the federal government.
* $1,000 - $1,500 Silver Star Rebates: Consumers looking to have simple upgrades performed in their homes would be eligible for 50% rebates up to $1,000 - $1,500 for doing any of a straightforward set of upgrades, including: insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing and doors. Under Silver Star, consumers can choose a combination of upgrades for rebates up to a maximum of $3,000 per home. Rebates would be limited to the most energy efficient categories of upgrades--focusing on products made primarily in the United States and installed by certified contractors.
* $3000 Gold Star Rebates: Consumers interested in more comprehensive energy retrofits would be eligible for a $3,000 rebate for a whole home energy audit and subsequent retrofit tailored to achieve a 20% energy savings in their homes. Consumers could receive additional rebate amounts for energy savings in excess of 20%. Gold Star would build on existing whole home retrofit programs, like EPA's successful Home Performance with Energy Star program.
* Oversight to Ensure Quality Installations: The program would require that contractors be certified to perform efficiency installations.
The program will result in the creation of tens of thousands of jobs while achieving substantial reductions in energy use -- the equivalent of the entire output of three coal-fired power plants each year. Consumers in the program are anticipated to save between $200 - $500 per year in energy costs, while improving the comfort and value of their homes.